1 in 3 say communities have a role in taking environmental action

Three-quarters of people in the UK say the environment will be important to them in 2020, a new survey from The National Lottery Community Fund reveals.

As people set their New Year’s resolutions, more than three in five (65%) agree that if everyone makes small changes, we can make a positive difference to the environment. In 2020, people say they will be: reducing the number of plastics used (50%), recycling more (49%) [4] and cutting back on food waste and increasing on food sharing (37%).

John Rose, Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “People know about climate change and the impact it is already having in the world. But now we can see that people recognise communities have a role to play in tackling this issue at a local level, with one in three people in our survey confirmed this.”

On top of people making lifestyle changes in 2020, such as changing their eating habits (28%) [4] and purchasing habits (25%), more than one in ten (15%) intend to join in with community environmental activities, such as litter picks, tree planting and beach cleans.

“As the largest funder of community activity in the UK,” John Rose added, “we know that local action does not only help to protect the environment, but also offers plenty of other benefits that people and communities can reap to help them thrive. That’s why it’s great to see people are keen to get involved locally in 2020.”

The survey shows that some people are already aware of the benefits community involvement has, including bringing the community together (49%), making new friendships and connections (42%), and improved mental and physical wellbeing amongst participants (40%).

All these benefits are coming to life at Wibsey Community Garden in Bradford.

Run by Bradford Community Environment Project, the garden produces homegrown fruit and veg, as well as developing wildlife spaces and a new orchard thanks to a small but vital grant of £9,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund.

Leigham Harford, a volunteer at Wibsey Community garden, said:

“My resolution for 2020 is to try to get more young people like me from the area to come and volunteer at the gardens. Volunteering here makes me feel good and makes me feel like I’m giving back to my community.”

Leigham Harford gardening in Bradford.

Our Bright Future, a £33 million programme funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and led by The Wildlife Trusts, is another example of National Lottery funding supporting environmental action in communities across the UK. Formed of 31 projects across the UK, including BBE You in Liverpool and From Farm to Fork, it has engaged more than 100,000 young people in the last three years to help their local environment.

Groundwork London and Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

As part of The National Lottery Community Fund’s Environment Strategy, a new £100 million Climate Action Fund has been launched that will enable people and communities to take the lead in tackling the climate emergency. The National Lottery Community Fund is also exploring ways to support voluntary and community organisations to mitigate their impact on the climate, for example via its Climate Action Top-up scheme which is being piloted in Wales, as well as new information and guidance.

South Denbighshire Community Partnership in North Wales is one of the community groups in Wales taking part in the Climate Action Top-up scheme.

Margaret Sutherland from the community partnership said:

“We’re proud to be involved in The National Lottery Community Fund’s Climate Top-up initiative which has enabled us to install 24 solar panels on our community centre. This is not only helping us to reduce our carbon emissions, but we’ll also save on energy bills, making it good for business too.”

Communities across the UK are being encouraged to find out more and get inspired to take environmental action by visiting www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk