Sustainable Steps Wales: Action Grants

Partneriaeth Ogwen

Grants from £10,001 to £350,000 that address climate change in communities and help people live in a more sustainable way.

We will fund projects in Wales that enable more people to act on climate change, reduce our impact on the climate and share what they have learnt. Details of these priorities are listed in the ‘Programme priorities’ tab.

Suitable for
Voluntary or community organisations, charities
Funding size
£10,001 to £350,000. Projects can be up to 5 years
Total available
£3 million, around 10 to 20 projects
Application deadline

Send us your expression of interest form by 5pm on Thursday 21 July 2022 please send it as soon as you can as we are expecting a high volume of applications.

If your idea is accepted, we will send you a longer application form asking for more information about your project and organisation. You need to return this to us to us by 5pm on Thursday 22 September 2022

How to apply

1. If you have an idea already – you can submit your expression of interest online.

Apply online

The closing date for submitting your expression of interest is 5pm on Thursday 21 July 2022 but please send it as soon as you can as we are expecting a high volume of applications.

You can also:

2. To get more information you can attend a virtual briefing session.

Briefing sessions will be held virtually on the following dates and will include a presentation followed by a brief question and answer session.

If you have any questions please email

3. To discuss project ideas please get in touch, and we will arrange an appointment with a Funding Officer.

4.  After we have received your expression of interest – we’ll be in contact within two weeks to discuss your idea or send you an application form asking for more information.

5. If we ask you to fill in an application form – you will need to send it back to us by 5pm on Thursday 22 September 2022.

The full application is made up of:

  • an application form – this tells us about your organisation and your project
  • project budget – this tells us how much your project will cost and how much you want to us to fund
  • your organisation's annual accounts (or a 12-month projection for new organisations) – this is not applicable for public sector organisations.

You may also need to send us:

  • a draft partnership agreement – if you’ve chosen to work with other organisations and they will help deliver or decide how the project will be delivered. This is a legal document outlining the roles and responsibilities of the organisations you have chosen to work with to deliver the project. If your application is successful, your draft agreement needs to be approved by us and signed before we release any funding to you. If you are not working in partnership, you do not need to submit one
  • your organisation's governing document – if you are not a charity or a statutory body
  • a land and buildings checklist (PDF, 745 KB) and supporting documents - if you’re applying for costs that involve purchasing, the refurbishment or development of land and buildings or other construction-related works
  • vehicle documents – if you intend to buy an electric vehicle, please include the information we ask for in our guidance on funding for vehicles (PDF, 765 KB).

6. We'll email our decision by Friday 10 February 2023 – if you're unsuccessful, we'll tell you why.

7. If your application is successful – you can check what happens after you have been awarded funding.

Who can and cannot apply

You can apply if you're a UK-based:

  • registered charity
  • voluntary or community organisation
  • charitable incorporated organisation (CIO)
  • co-operative society (if it has a not-for-profit clause)
  • company limited by guarantee (if it has a not-for-profit clause)
  • community interest company (CIC)
  • community benefit society
  • unregistered voluntary or community organisation
  • town or community council (providing there is strong support from the community for the idea to be developed).

Partnerships from all sectors are welcome to apply, as long as the lead applicant is one of these organisation types. Your organisation must have a management committee with at least three unrelated members aged 18 years or over.

The majority of people that will benefit from the project must live in Wales.

We cannot accept applications from:

  • individuals or sole traders ​
  • profit-making groups ​
  • anyone who’s applying for another organisation
  • organisations not established in the UK.  ​

Board or committee members

You need to have at least three people on your board or committee who are unrelated​. By unrelated we mean people who are not:

  • related by blood to each other
  • married to each other
  • in a civil partnership with each other
  • in a long-term relationship with each other
  • living together at the same address.

All companies that apply must have at least three directors who are not related in any of these ways.  This applies to companies that are also registered as charities. 

Programme priorities

Successful applications will explain how they will deliver all three priorities:

1. Support more people to take action on climate change:

by enabling communities in Wales who are not usually engaged in climate change to help tackle the climate emergency and inspire others.

We want to fund projects that are inclusive and engage people from diverse backgrounds in climate action.

Strong applications will support groups of people living in the same place or who have something in common, such as age, religion, disability, income or gender.

We want to support both urban and rural Welsh communities. We particularly want to support people with low incomes or those who have vulnerabilities that make them less able to respond to climate change.

We want to fund ideas developed with people in the community, based on what’s important to them. Projects should motivate people to take practical action, not just raise their awareness. This may involve developing skills.

2. Reduce our impact on the climate:

by empowering community-led activities to reduce carbon emissions and promoting a sustainable, low-carbon future for Wales.

We want to fund projects that inspire people to change the way they behave and have a meaningful and lasting impact on reducing carbon emissions in their community.

For example, projects could relate to food, transport, energy, or waste and consumption. Ideas should focus on encouraging changes in the way people behave that will last. We can fund community services as well as the development of facilities to help make this happen.

We want to know about the changes you’ve made and to fund those that make a strong impact. You can measure how people’s behaviour changes, how carbon emissions reduce, or in other ways that fit your work. You should also tell us how you might keep up the work in your community after your funding ends.

3. Share what you’ve learnt with others:

by evidencing impact and sharing what the group learns about how to reduce carbon emissions and engage communities in climate action.

We will fund organisations that want to learn, and plan to share what they learn with similar groups. We particularly want groups to share experiences about reaching new people, motivating behaviour change and measuring carbon emissions. We will share guidance to help with this. It will be ready by 31 March 2023, in time to support groups before they start their projects.

What we expect to fund

We’re looking to fund between 10 and 20 community projects, depending on what people ask for. We’re expecting to get a high number of applications which means we’ll have to make some difficult decisions about what we’ll fund.

We want our grants to encourage diverse communities to engage with climate change. This should happen in ways that are important to those communities and which make a lasting impact on the way people behave. We will fund a range of projects across Wales.

The main focus of your project should be about engaging with climate change. But we would also like to know about the other benefits of your project. These could include things like improving people’s wellbeing, improving relationships between people and organisations, or improving biodiversity.

We are less likely to fund projects where the main focus is nature or conservation. But we recognise that these are important areas, and that biodiversity is declining. So we want to fund projects that have thought about the impact their activities will have on nature and, where possible, limit anything that is damaging.

Working with others, or in partnership

We want to fund projects that fit in with what’s already happening around climate action. So we need to know how you’ll work with other organisations and people - in your community or more widely.

You do not need experience of climate action to apply. But we strongly recommend that you seek support from those with experience to help with your idea. This may mean working in partnership with other organisations to help design and deliver activities.

You can also apply if your organisation is experienced in climate action. But you should show how you’ve engaged meaningfully with the community and show how the community will help deliver and manage the project.

The projects we’re unlikely to fund

We are unlikely to fund:

  • projects that will not help people to change the way they respond to the climate emergency
  • projects that do not focus strongly enough on climate change, even if there will be broad benefits for your community or to people’s wellbeing
  • small scale energy features for buildings, unless they are part of a wider project involving the community in climate action
  • projects where the community has not been engaged in developing the idea
  • broader environmental or nature projects that do not focus strongly enough on climate change or living more sustainably.

If your project is focused on wellbeing you may prefer to apply to our People and Places programme.

Delivering your project bilingually in English and Welsh

When you receive funding from us for a project in Wales, you’ll need to deliver it in Welsh as well as English. You’ll also need to make sure all your activities are available to your community in both languages.

For further information read our guidance on managing your project bilingually or contact the Welsh Language Team at   

Make sure your budget includes costs for delivering your project bilingually, such as for translation.  It may be that you also need to consider other ways to reach your target audience. 

Keeping people safe

If your project will work with children, young people or vulnerable adults - you need to have a policy in place that explains how they’ll be safe.

We recommend that you visit the NCVO website which provides a range of child safeguarding advice and information services for the whole of the UK.

Should you be successful in your application, we would expect you to adhere to our expectations as set out in the grant holder policy around safeguarding children and adults at risk.

Subsidy Aid

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.

Visit our Climate Action Hub

We're committed to helping you protect the environment. In addition to Sustainable Steps Wales, our Climate Action Hub has information about our approach to tackling the climate emergency. The hub includes learning, insights, stories and information about other funding.

What you can spend money on

What you can spend money on

We are offering grants up to £350,000 to cover capital and revenue costs. 

Revenue costs might include project staff salaries, volunteer expenses and learning and evaluation costs.    

Capital costs might include buying, refurbishing or developing land and building or other construction-related works. If you are applying for capital costs you should read our land and buildings guidance checklist (PDF, 745 KB).

You can include electric vehicle costs in your project. You can read our guidance about vehicle costs (PDF, 765 KB) for more information.

We can fund projects for up to 5 years. We can fund part of your project, or up to 100% of your project if it will cost £350,000 or less.


  • campaigning
  • alcohol​ 
  • profit-making  
  • recoverable VAT​ 
  • activities that replace government funding​. Before you apply, you should research what support is already available
  • political or religious activities​ 
  • paying someone else to write your application.

Contact us

If you’d like to discuss your project idea rather than fill in this form you can:

The closing date for submitting your expression of interest is 5pm on Thursday 21 July 2022.