Climate Action Fund

Energy garden

This funding aims to help communities across the UK to address climate change.

We’re looking for projects that focus on the 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.

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.

You can read our blog for examples of projects we’re likely to fund.

We want all the projects we fund to be creative, include everyone and try out new things. Projects also need to show how they can achieve longer-term, larger change that goes beyond the communities they're directly working with.

We’re looking to fund between 12 and 15 projects.

We'll accept applications from either:

  • local partnerships
  • UK-wide partnerships which are delivered across at least two UK countries (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales).
Area
UK-wide
Suitable for
Community and voluntary organisations, charities, public sector, working in partnerships
Funding size
Up to £1.5 million over 2 to 5 years, with most projects between £300,000 and £500,000. Development grants of £50,000 to £150,000 over 12 to 18 months.
Application deadline

Ongoing

How to apply

You can apply online  

We’ll ask you about your idea and how it fits with what we’re hoping to fund.

Apply online

If it's difficult or impossible for you to apply online

You can contact us if you have communication support needs or find it hard to complete the form. We can provide alternative ways for you to tell us about your idea, such as:

  • an Easy Read version of the application form and guidance
  • a PDF version of the application form
  • a British Sign Language (BSL) version of the application form and guidance.

You can attend a virtual event about this funding

To get more information about this funding, you can attend an event. We're holding events online on:

  • 26 July 2022 – 12-1pm
  • 23 August 2022 – 12-1pm
  • 23 August 2022 – 5-6pm
  • 27 September 2022 – 12-1pm.

To register for one of these events, contact us by email at ClimateActionFund@tnlcommunityfund.org.uk.

If you’re not sure if you should apply

You can:

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 six 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.

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.
Who can and cannot apply

We’ll accept applications from either:

  • local partnerships
  • UK-wide partnerships which are delivered across at least two UK countries (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales).

We’re looking to fund partnerships that are made up of a mix of organisations from different sectors. We can fund both new partnerships and partnerships that have already been set up. At this stage, we’re looking for the organisation who is best placed to speak on behalf of the partnership.

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 - you must be a registered charity or have a not-for-profit 'asset lock' clause in your articles of association
  • school, college, university (providing your project benefits and involves the wider local communities)
  • statutory body (including, town, parish and community council)
  • community benefit society.

We cannot 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 your project
  • 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.

If you’re a school or an organisation working in a school

Your project needs to strengthen the community outside of the school too. It should benefit and involve more than just teachers, pupils or parents of pupils.

We will 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 cannot accept multiple applications from the same group or organisation.

If you’re not sure if you can apply

You can:

What we're hoping to fund

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

You can:

What you can spend money on

We can fund fully-developed projects, or projects that are still in development

Projects can apply for up to £1.5 million for a period of 2 to 5 years. We expect most of the funding to go to projects that request between £300,000 and £500,000.

If your project idea is still in development, we can offer a grant from £50,000 up to £150,000 for a period of 12 to 18 months. You can apply for more funding later but we cannot guarantee we’ll award more money.

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, tell us about it at your early-stage application form and our team will be in touch to provide further information should your project progresses to the next stage.

We expect to mostly fund 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
  • 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 (PHSE) 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 policy 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.

If you’re not sure if you should apply

You can: