Sustainable Steps Wales - Mentoring

Rainbow Biz

This programme is now closed, the one grant on offer was awarded, to find out more visit

Grants to support communities to contribute to a prosperous, low carbon future for Wales.

We’re launching a series of grant programmes using funding from the Dormant Assets Scheme. The programmes will support Wales’s commitment to a sustainable future and reach new audiences who want to take action on climate change. As grant programmes open during 2022 details will be added.

Sustainable Steps Wales: mentoring support for communities to engage with climate action.

We’ll make one award of around £2 million to provide mentoring support to community groups across Wales, to help the groups develop and carry out their plans to deliver climate action.​

Suitable for
Voluntary organisations or Public sector organisations working in partnership with Voluntary organisations.
Application deadline

This programme is now closed. Sustainable Steps Wales Action Grants is open - to find out more follow this link.

Sustainable Steps Wales - Mentoring

This programme is now closed to applications. The one grants on offer was awarded to a partnership - you can find out more at

Support for communities to engage with the impacts of climate change

Our aim is to help community groups in Wales who are starting to think about taking action on climate change and living in a more sustainable way. ​

We’ll fund one project of around £2 million to provide mentoring support in Wales for at least five years. We expect mentoring to include sharing knowledge, skills and experience. We think most of the community groups will need mentoring because they are unlikely to be familiar with the range of solutions they could think about. However, if you also intend to offer coaching to groups please include this in your application.

We’re interested in funding a proposal which can offer:

  • Knowledge, skills and experience in helping to create solutions for living more sustainably and engaging effectively to respond to climate change, and to monitor and evaluate the impact of what is achieved.
  • The ability to both recruit and mentor community groups to help them plan to change behaviour to live more sustainably.

The need for these different skills and experience may mean that you decide to work in a partnership. You may be able to show that your organisation could deliver all aspects of the grant requirement without working in partnership. The decision to apply in partnership is up to you.

Here are some features we’re looking for in the successful application:​

1. The ability to attract diverse communities across Wales - The mentoring service will be for community groups from a broad range of Wales’s rural and urban communities.

Priority will be given to supporting those whose circumstances mean they are less able to cope with the impact of climate change and communities not normally involved in climate action.

While mentoring should focus on climate action, activities may also include support for groups that want to develop solutions to restore nature.

2. Tailored, bilingual support to help communities to develop plans, take action, learn from and share their experiences.​

You’ll need to deliver support in Welsh and in English and make sure all your activities are available in both languages. For further information follow this link to read our guidance on managing your project bilingually.

You may also decide that you need to work in other languages to reach the communities you want to target and produce materials in different languages.

3. Experience in sharing knowledge, skills, and giving advice to others on a range of potential solutions to prevent and/or address the impacts of climate change.​

Evaluation and Monitoring

4. We want the successful mentoring service provider to deliver across four areas of evaluation and monitoring:

4.1. Monitor, evaluate own performance mentoring projects. Sharing information with an independent evaluator at key points during the project. (please note: an independent evaluator will be recruited by The National Lottery Community Fund to report on the Sustainable Steps Wales Programme as a whole).

4.2 Work with mentees and other grant holders (for example see section 9) to support them to monitor and evaluate their own projects. Evaluation information will be shared with the independent evaluator who will report on the Sustainable Steps Wales Programme.

4.3 Create a “monitoring and self evaluation toolkit”. The successful applicant will have about 10 months from being awarded the grant to create a “monitoring and self evaluation toolkit” for use by groups receiving grants from Sustainable Steps Wales.

As we expect that many of these groups will be new to climate change, it is crucial that the toolkit is easy and accessible to use, and suitable for a range of experience and capabilities. This must be delivered by the end of March 2023. This should include (but is not limited to) these themes:

  • reaching and engaging new people
  • motivating behaviour change
  • Monitoring, measuring and reporting on carbon emissions.

The purpose of the “monitoring and self-evaluation toolkit” is to support grant holders to show the impact of their project and to empower them to see the difference they have made.

4.4 Capture and share learning:

  • about the mentoring service
  • between mentees
  • with The Fund,
  • with stakeholders
  • other interested organisations
  • capture and share what the community groups learn.

Throughout the project we want the Mentoring Service to work with grantholders to monitor their impact, drawing out key insights, case studies and lessons around engaging and reaching new audiences in climate change.

We expect that the groups will be interested in sharing what works, what problems they have found, the skills communities develop and the impacts on climate action and to help peer to peer learning.

We’re looking for your ideas on the ways you’ll share information at key points during the activity of the project, shaped or co-designed with communities and describing their key lessons and insights.

The independent evaluator provided by The National Lottery Community Fund will work with you to help ensure that the guidance you give and any assets you create, fit in with the evaluation framework and contribute to the programme-wide report the evaluator will write.

5. Your project complements and links with other services and activities.

We welcome applications that involve partnerships to ensure you can reach new communities, give the support described above and deliver the activities, however, it is up to you whether you want to work in partnership.

6. We want the mentor service and those it supports, to use the brand guidelines we’ll provide and promote their work both on social media and in the press.

7. You’ll have a policy in place that explains how children, young people or vulnerable adults will be safe. We may ask to see this policy if we decide to give you funding. The NSPCC website includes advice about setting up and following good child safeguarding policies​.

8. During 2022/2023 The National Lottery Community Fund intends to offer two opportunities for groups to apply for grants to address climate change

  • Sustainable Steps Wales: Mentee grants – launch autumn 2022
  • Sustainable Steps Wales: Climate action grants – launch July 2022

8.1 Sustainable Steps Wales: Mentee grants.

The National Lottery Community Fund will offer the mentored groups the opportunity to apply for Sustainable Steps Wales Mentee grants of up to £15,000 (for both revenue and capital).

While the mentoring service is in place, £3.75million will be available to provide grants to groups wanting to turn their plans into action.

Funding is not guaranteed, but only groups who have received mentoring support will be able to apply for a grant.

Groups will apply to us themselves, and they’ll need to tell us what they achieved with the funding.

The National Lottery Community Fund will keep in touch with the mentoring service about who has applied and will require confirmation that the community groups applying have received mentoring support. We’ll also share which applications are successful.

Groups applying for a mentee grant will be asked to provide an action plan setting out their goals and activities.

We’ll need to know what:

  • they want us to fund
  • costings
  • what permissions they have (where applicable).

They’ll need to provide a governing document, a bank account and be: ​

  • 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
  • community benefit society
  • school (as long as the school can show it is working in partnership with local communities which will also benefit from the grant)
  • town and community councils (providing there is strong support from the community)

We have sufficient funding to award 250 mentee grants.

However, you may work with more groups, noting that not all may choose to apply for a mentee grant.

You should explain your targets so that we understand what assumptions you've made.

We know that each group will have different needs and will need help at different times so we understand that this isn't easy and could change as your project develops.

8.2 Sustainable Steps Wales: Climate action grants

Launching in Summer 2022

In addition, Sustainable Steps Wales: Climate action grants programme may offer between 8 and 30 (depending on the amounts groups choose to apply for) climate action grants of up to £350k.

Most of these proposals will bring in a wide range people and communities not normally involved in climate action, encouraging diversity.

We want successful applicants to this programme to have the opportunity to network and share their experiences with the other community groups being mentored.

We’ll require successful applicants to this scheme to use the same “monitoring and self-evaluation toolkit” which the successful mentoring grantholder will provide for their mentees, and access additional support from your mentoring service if required.

This should ensure that all strands of the Sustainable Steps Wales programme’s impact are being measured using the same techniques.

How to apply

Complete the form

If you have a project idea in mind you can register your interest by completing a simple form.

This programme is now closed to applications.

Contact us

Or you can phone 0300 123 0735 between 9.00am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday or email​

Submit your expression of interest by 17:00 on 1 February 2022. Application forms are given out based on the Expression of Interest, so after this time you’ll not be able to get an application form​.

2. A Funding Officer will arrange a time to talk through your idea with you and if we’re interested in your proposal, we’ll send you our application form. Your full application is made up of:

  • Application form – this tells us about your organisation
  • Project plan – this tells us about your proposal and how you’ll manage and deliver it.
  • Project budget – this tells us how much your project will cost and how much you want us to fund.
  • Your organisation’s annual accounts (or a 12-month projection for new organisations) – this is not applicable for public sector organisations.
  • Draft partnership agreement – required if you have chosen to work in partnership.

You can contact us if you have any communication support needs.

We’re happy to talk about alternative ways for you to tell us about your idea.​

We’ll ask for more information about your proposal and your organisation and any partner organisations you plan to work with. We’ll also want to know about your organisation’s financial accounts and current finances. ​

3. Deadline for completed application form

Submit your application form by 17:00 on 5 April 2022.​

4. A Funding Officer may arrange a time to talk to you if they have any questions about your application. We’ll use this information to help assess your project.

We’ll send you an email telling you our decision on your application by Friday 27 May 2022. If you are not successful, we’ll tell you why in the email.​

​5. You can read our general guidance about what to expect if you are awarded funding and what you’ll need to do.

You can also read our Data Protection Statement to see how we use the personal data you give us. ​

We ask you to read and agree to our terms and conditions. Read our terms and conditions.

Checking the information you give us

As an organisation that gives out public funds, we carry out some checks on the information you give to us. Learn more about our checks.​

Who can apply? ​

You can apply to deliver the mentoring support grant if you are a:​

  • ​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 ​
  • community benefit society ​
  • statutory body working in partnership with a third sector organisation(s)

We welcome applications from partnerships, particularly where these bring specialised experience (for example knowledge of environmental issues, engaging the communities we have prioritised, self-evaluation etc) if the lead applicant is one of the organisation types listed above.

Your organisation must have a management committee with at least three unrelated members aged 18 years or over. ​

We cannot fund

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

Please note most of the people that will benefit from the project must live in Wales. ​

Board or committee members​

It is important that applying organisations have at least three people on their board or committee who are not related​- by related, we mean:​

  • 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​
  • Related by blood. ​

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

What can you spend the money on?

​We can fund revenue costs, such as:

  • paying for project staff
  • overhead costs
  • marketing
  • small items of equipment
  • learning and evaluation costs. ​

We cannot fund:​

  • alcohol​
  • profit-making ​
  • recoverable VAT​
  • statutory activities​
  • political or religious activities​
  • paying someone else to write your application.​

Subsidy Aid

Our grants come from public funds and successful applications will be asked to comply with the UK's International Subsidy Control Commitments. Please seek independent legal advice if you want more guidance.​