Climate Action Fund - Energy and Climate

Creating Enterprise CIC from Conwy, North Wales 

Energy and Climate is now closed to new applications.

If you applied we’ll aim to tell you if you’re through to the next stage within 10 weeks. We may take longer if we get a lot of applications.

You can now apply for Climate Action Fund - Our Shared Future. It is about inspiring more people to take climate action.

Energy and Climate

This funding aims to inspire and support communities across the UK to address the energy and climate crisis. The projects we’re funding should show how communities can address climate change while tackling the energy challenges through community-led climate action.

We're funding projects that:

  • encourage communities to use energy in an environmentally friendly way
  • bring communities together so that they can explore ways to promote energy efficiency
  • enable communities to understand and engage with opportunities for clean energy generation, which do not use fossil fuels.

All projects should consider how everyone in the community can get involved with climate action. They must also address any reasons why some people might be left out.

We’re funding projects that will bring a range of benefits to communities, including:

  • improving health and well-being
  • creating local ’green’ jobs, such as jobs providing low-carbon heat for homes, community energy champions and energy advisors
  • reducing carbon emissions
  • supporting communities to be more resilient.

We're funding projects that aim for long-term change. And projects that have the potential to have a positive impact beyond the communities they're directly working with.

You can read our blog for examples of the types of energy projects we’re funding.

Suitable for
Community and voluntary organisations
Funding size
Projects could apply for up to £1.5 million over 2 to 5 years, with most projects awarded £1 million. Minimum grant £500,000.
Total available
£8.5 million
Application deadline

Closed to applications

How to apply

Climate Action Fund – Energy and Climate closed to new applications on 1 March 2024

What happens after you apply

  1. We’ll assess your application – we make decisions on a rolling basis and expect there to be high demand for our funding, so we’ll only be able to take applications through to the next stage that most strongly meet our criteria. We will not be able to provide individual feedback to unsuccessful applications at stage 1.

  2. We’ll take some early decisions – we’ll aim to tell you if you’re through to the next stage within ten weeks. In the meantime, we may contact you to ask for more information about your project.

  3. If you’re invited to the next stage, we’ll ask for more information – you can find out what information we’ll ask for in our guidance for developing your full proposal. We may also arrange a project visit or a call with you and your partners to discuss your project.

    You can find out more about the checks we do. We might give you a call to talk a little more about your application or ask for more information before we make a decision.

  4. We’ll make a final decision – your request will be considered by the Climate Action Fund panel. We’ll aim to tell you our final decision within around four months of being invited to the second stage.

  5. If your application is successful – we'll contact you with the good news! Here’s what happens when you’re awarded funding. We’ll also discuss how we can help you:
    • celebrate and promote your funding
    • share your learning with others including other grant holders and future applicants to contribute to wider collaborations in these areas.

If you need to speak to us

You can:

Who could apply

Who could and could not apply

We accept applications from either:

  • place-based partnerships
  • UK-wide partnerships
  • single voluntary or community organisations

This organisation must be either a:

  • constituted group or club
  • voluntary or community organisation
  • registered charity
  • charitable incorporated organisation (SCIO/CIO)
  • community interest company (CIC)
  • not-for-profit company limited by guarantee - they must be a registered charity or have a not-for-profit 'asset lock' clause in their articles of association
  • school, college, university (providing the project benefits and involves the wider local communities)
  • statutory body (including, town, parish and community council)
  • community benefit society.

We did not accept applications from:

  • individuals
  • sole traders
  • organisations that can pay profits to directors, shareholders or members (including Companies Limited by Shares) - we cannot fund these organisations directly but they can support funded projects
  • organisations based outside the UK
  • one individual or organisation applying on behalf of another
  • organisations that do not have at least two people on their board or committee who are not married, in a long-term relationship, living together at the same address, or related by blood.

Schools or organisations working in a school

These projects need to strengthen the community outside of the school too. They should benefit and involve more than just teachers, pupils or parents of pupils.

We do not fund school projects that:

  • improve school facilities or equipment that are not available for the wider community to use
  • help with staff training
  • are part of the school curriculum
  • involve activities the school should already be providing (like a project teaching literacy during school hours)
  • take place during teaching times (before and after school might be okay).

We did not accept multiple applications from the same group or organisation.

What we're funding

What we're funding

Taking local action on energy use can lead to many personal and community benefits. Using less energy can reduce carbon emissions, lower energy bills and lead to improved air quality. Well-insulated homes are both warmer and more comfortable. Energy projects can also create new “green” jobs and regenerate local communities and can in turn enable and inspire communities to take collective action.

We’re funding projects where communities are inspired to take action on energy and the climate crisis.

Our focus on energy and climate

We're funding projects that can do at least one of the following:

  • encourage people and communities to use energy in an environmentally friendly way
  • bring communities together so that they can explore ways to promote energy efficiency
  • enable communities to understand and engage with opportunities for clean energy generation, which do not use fossil fuels.

Supporting vulnerable groups

Climate change and the energy crisis has more of an effect on groups that may find it harder to engage with climate action. Organisations we’re funding have to consider how everyone across the community can get involved with climate action and address any reasons why some people might be left out.

We've prioritised projects that aim to support and engage with vulnerable groups facing multiple issues. This includes low-income households and people with health conditions.

We're aiming to fund a wide variety of projects. Including projects that engage with communities to:

  • Educate, inspire, and start community-led energy action that leads to a reduction in carbon emissions over the long-term. This includes demonstration projects that people can visit in their community.
  • Build skills, tools, and resources to enable local action, such as, training community energy champion, exploring cost-effective easy to use solutions such as draught excluders or using LED bulbs.
  • Share skills with people in the community so they can get involved in projects where they can generate their own energy though renewables. We are not funding the purchase of solar panels, wind turbines or other generators of renewable energy. However, we can fund groups to engage with communities and help them build their understanding about community energy projects.
  • Use data to encourage action and positive behaviour change.

All projects should be able to show:

  • what they want to change and give strong evidence of the potential to achieve their goal
  • how other social and economic benefits will be achieved, such as: the creation of strong, resilient and healthy communities; development of green jobs; regeneration opportunities for communities.
  • how they will put communities first
  • how they will bring together a range of people and groups across different sectors such as communities, local authorities, private sector, academia, policy and practice
  • how they will engage the public, including those not already taking climate action
  • how they will measure and prove their environmental and social impact
  • what will happen when the project ends
  • how they will use stories or case studies to share their work and inspire communities to learn about the climate emergency and act.

Projects that work in collaboration with others

We’re particularly interested in projects willing to connect with other local, regional and national initiatives to get inspiration, share learning and increase their effect.

We funding projects that inform and promote different things such as:

  • retrofitting
  • energy generation
  • advice

We aimto fund projects in a mix of different locations across the UK. We are supporting applications from partnerships that cover a broad geographical area and promote cross-country collaboration.

Funded projects are expected to show they are keen to connect with others to share learning and amplify the effect and legacy of their work.

What else we expect from applicants

We expect applicants to be able demonstrate a strong understanding of community-led energy projects and have strong links with relevant projects and communities.

We're offering structured opportunities for development and co-learning to the projects we fund.

We'll talk to the projects that progress to stage 2 of the assessment about the sort of support we can offer.

The projects we’re unlikely to fund

We’re unlikely to fund:

  • projects which focus on delivering structural domestic upgrades that benefit individual households.
  • the purchase or installation of solar panels, wind turbines and other sources or generators of renewable energy. This fund cannot pay for the capital costs of energy generation activities
  • Advice for individuals focusing purely on the cost-of-living crisis. We have committed other funding to help with this. There are other funders more suitable for projects reducing household energy costs or providing debt support.
  • projects that are not able to demonstrate a strong climate action focus
  • broader energy projects that focus on transport
  • political activities that promote a particular political party, political belief or any targeted action to influence elections
  • applications that cannot show how their project matters to the community
  • applications that promote the agenda of a single organisation or group
  • applications for statutory activities
  • applications that are only looking for capital funding including applications that only request funding for structural changes to a community or private building that is not part of a wider behaviour change project
  • applications that aim to deliver economic activities that are likely to have a significant effect on competition. Read our policy on subsidy control.
  • organisations applying for significantly more funding than they have experience of managing, or that significantly increases their annual turnover.
What you can spend money on

What you can spend money on

We are funding projects up to £1.5 million over 2 to 5 years, with most projects over £500,000. Minimum grant £500,000.

You can spend your funding on:

  • staff costs
  • volunteer expenses
  • general project costs
  • engagement activities
  • learning and evaluation
  • utilities or running costs
  • organisational development and management costs
  • some capital costs - this could be for buying equipment or buying, leasing, refurbishing or developing land and buildings, or other construction-related work.

While we can fund capital elements of your project, you should be able to provide evidence of ownership or lease with guaranteed access to the land for a minimum of 5 years. You must meet our specific terms and conditions if you are buying, refurbishing or developing land or buildings with our funding. You may need help from a legal professional to make sure you meet our requirements.

If your project involves capital funding, you should have told us about it at your early-stage application form. Our team will be in touch to provide further information if your project progresses to the next stage.

We are mostly funding revenue costs

Our focus on increasing participation with climate action and supporting behavioural change means we expect that most of our funding will go towards revenue costs. We’ll consider funding capital costs if the partnership can show how:

  • it might facilitate lifestyle and behavioural change
  • it'll broaden participation
  • it'll be financially sustainable (for example, where our funding might unlock more financial investment from other sources).

We cannot fund:

  • political activities that promote a particular political party, political belief or any targeted action to influence elections
  • alcohol
  • items which will only benefit an individual or family, rather than the wider community 
  • contingency costs, loans, endowments or interest
  • electricity generation, such as from solar panels, wind turbines, biomass boilers, anaerobic digestion plants or combined heat and power (CHP)
  • religious activities (although we can fund religious organisations if their project benefits the wider community and does not include religious content) 
  • profit-making or fundraising activities
  • VAT you can reclaim
  • statutory activities
  • costs that have already been incurred 
  • activities that improve educational attainment - personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education; science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), English
  • overseas travel or projects that take place outside of the UK.

Considering your environmental impact

We're committed to helping you protect the environment. You can check our guidance on reducing your environmental impact.

Our Climate Action Hub also has information about our approach to tackling the climate emergency, including learning and insights, stories and funding.

Delivering your project in Wales 

If one of the countries you’ll be working in is Wales, you'll need to deliver your services bilingually (in Welsh and English). This is part of our grant condition. You can read our guidance on managing your project bilingually.  

If your project works with children, young people or vulnerable adults

You need to have a policy in place that explains how they'll be safe. We might ask to see this policy if we decide to give you funding. Get more information in our safeguarding expectations for grant holders.

UK’s subsidy control commitments

Our grants come from public funds and successful applications will be asked to comply with the UK's International Subsidy Control Commitments listed on the GOV.UK website. You should seek independent legal advice if you need more guidance.

Our funding must be additional and distinct from public funding

This means we cannot substitute or replace public funding. We cannot fund anything that is the statutory, or legal, responsibility of government or the public sector, such as direct education and healthcare. However, we can potentially fund work that complements or adds value to public funding.

If your project has onward granting

You should tell us as soon as you can. Onward granting means using our funding to then give out grants to other organisations.

We’ll need to understand how you intend to deliver this part of your project as there are limitations to what we can and cannot support in this area. We’ll need details of your plans as part of our assessment, and we will then provide further information and guidance.