The UK has lost a lot of its natural environment to human activity – more than most other countries in the world. This is particularly the case in some of our most deprived communities. We also have one of the world’s highest carbon footprints compared to our population and levels of consumption. Restoring and improving the natural environment, and our link to nature, helps solve many problems associated with the climate crisis.
So we’re currently looking for applications that focus on the clear link between nature and climate.
We want to fund projects that use nature to encourage more community-led climate action. We expect these projects to bring other important social and economic benefits. Like the creation of strong, resilient and healthy communities or the development of “green” skills and jobs.
What we’ll ask for in your application
We’ll ask you about your idea and how it fits with the areas we are focussing on. We want to know:
1. What’s your proposed project idea?
You should tell us:
- about your project
- what you’re hoping to change – in the short and long term
- how you know it’s needed
- how communities have been involved in the development of the idea
- why this is the right time for your project
- about the things that will increase the chance of your project being successful – for example, you have support from your Local Authority or there’s increasing support from your community.
2. How will your partnership work?
You should tell us:
- about your organisation
- what experience or learning has led you to apply
- about the organisations and groups you’re currently working with (or those you hope to work with)
- why your proposed partnership is best placed to deliver this work
- how the partners will work together to deliver this project
- how you will share learning among your partners and with other groups, projects and communities.
3. How does your project help communities to thrive and prosper?
You should tell us:
- how your project will positively impact communities – in the short and long term
- how your project inspires people to take climate action
- how you will address barriers to participation for underrepresented people and communities – for example, those experiencing ethnic or racial inequity, discrimination or inequality, disabled people, LGBTQ+ people, and people who are seeking asylum or who are refugees.
Our focus on nature and climate
We’re interested in projects that can do at least one of the following:
- show how creating a deeper connection with nature will lead to changing people’s behaviours and greater care for the environment
- show how by bringing nature back into the places we live and work, we can help communities to reduce or adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Types of projects we may fund
We are interested in funding a wide variety of different types of projects. These could include projects that bring communities together to:
- make new, better quality and more accessible natural spaces. For example, where the natural environment has been replaced by human activity in urban areas
- encourage environmental awareness by increasing outdoor learning opportunities
- use nature to address growing climate problems – like the rising temperature or risk of flooding in urban areas
- use stories or creative approaches to engage communities with the climate challenge through nature
- explore systems of producing food that are less damaging to nature, more self-sufficient, or that shorten the distance we transport food.
You can read our blog for examples of projects we’re likely to fund.
All projects should be able to demonstrate:
- how they respond clearly to community priorities and put communities first – read a blog about our mission to put communities first
- how they bring together diverse stakeholders
- can show clear plans on how they will engage the public, including those who are not already taking climate action. We’re particularly interested in hearing from projects that plan to reduce barriers to participation for underrepresented groups
- how they will measure and prove their environmental impact – for example, you could measure carbon reduction
- what will stay behind when the project comes to an end
- that they can bring expertise to help unlock opportunities and unblock barriers communities may face when taking climate action
- that they can use the power of storytelling to share their successes and inspire communities to learn about the climate and take action.
We’re particularly interested in hearing from projects that are willing to connect with other local, regional and national initiatives to get inspiration, exchange learning and increase their impact. We’ll offer structured opportunities for development and co-learning to projects we fund. We’ll discuss the types of support we offer with projects that progress to the stage 2 assessment.
We want to support underrepresented communities
We're particularly interested in projects led by, or supporting, people and communities experiencing ethnic or racial inequity, discrimination or inequality, disabled people, LGBTQ+ people, and people who are seeking asylum or who are refugees. We want to see more people in these communities represented in our funding.
We’re keen to hear about projects that:
- are passionate about climate justice
- address social inequalities
- are led by people and communities more adversely affected by climate change - for example, communities that live in flood-risk areas.
The projects we’re unlikely to fund
We’re unlikely to fund:
- projects which solely focus on preserving the natural world - projects need to involve people and communities
- applications that cannot show how the community has contributed to the design and development of the project
- applications from single organisations
- applications that promote the agenda of a single organisation or group
- applications for statutory activities
- applications that are only looking for capital funding
- organisations applying for significantly more funding than they have experience of managing, or that significantly increases their annual turnover
- broader environmental or nature projects that do not focus strongly enough on climate change.
Background of the Climate Action Fund
We launched the Climate Action Fund in 2019, as a 10-year £100 million programme. Its aim is to demonstrate what’s possible when people and communities take a leading role in tackling climate change. With National Lottery funding, communities will work together to share learning and be active participants towards a more sustainable and resilient future.
We’ve already awarded £36.7 million in funding to 48 community-led partnerships across the UK. You can read more about what we’ve done already in our blog post about the first round of funding. And our blog post from the second round of funding.
If you’re not sure if you should apply