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Thursday, 24 September 2020

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New report: How to tackle climate change through community action

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THE National Lottery Community Fund has today published a new report sharing learning and insights from recent environmental projects made possible thanks to National Lottery players, with a focus on practical tips on how to spark, mobilise and sustain local community environmental action.

The report Community action for the environment: Small enough to care, big enough to make a differencelooks at how taking action at an individual and community level can be both empowering and impactful in making a difference to the environment. It also highlights how community climate action can deliver real environmental impact, including cutting CO2 emissions reducing waste and redistributing food, furniture and other materials, as well as generating important wider co-benefits, such as improved health and wellbeing, increasing community pride and supporting skills, training and jobs.

The report – authored by the Fund’s award-winning Knowledge and Learning team – is being launched at an online event today. It will see more than a hundred people from across the UK with an interest in civil society and community action, including charities, local councils and non-environmental groups looking for inspiration on how to reduce their carbon footprint, hear from National Lottery funded environmental projects such as Bristol Green Capital Partnership and Dref Werdd, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales, who feature in the report, talking about the environmental action they are taking in their communities.

What can community action do for the environment?

The report highlights the 7 practical ways that community action can help the environment. Through the work of local community and charity organisations, climate action can be sparked and sustained through small and tangible steps including making small changes to behaviour, harnessing people’s desire to connect with their communities, using good examples to demonstrate what’s possible, measuring and showing the difference you are making, creating a network of advocates and enthusiasts, taking active steps to be diverse and inclusive and to be honest about what is and isn’t effective.

What can funders do to support community climate action?

The report also highlights five ways National Lottery funding has helped communities address environmental change. This includes helping people to save money and lower their carbon emissions, reducing food, clothing and furniture waste, nurturing knowledge and skills, building belonging and community pride and supporting individual and community wellbeing.

John Rose, Director and environment lead at The National Lottery Community Fund, said:

“From 25 years of funding environmental projects across the UK we have learnt that people and communities are key to reducing our carbon footprint and tackling climate change – and this report brings together learnings and insights on how communities are using National Lottery funding to take environmental action.

“Importantly this report emphasises the well-established links between the environment and physical and mental wellbeing, as well as the co-benefits environmental action can bring to communities and individuals. From saving money and reducing CO2 emissions, to gaining new skills and knowledge and having a greater sense of belonging – communities can learn from each other and have an impact within and beyond their communities.”

7 things we’ve learnt

Sandra Gordon, Director at Ujima Radio, who are partners in the Black and Green Ambassadors project, led by Bristol Green Capital, said:

“We are thrilled, that thanks to National Lottery players, we are investing in a new generation of leaders whose work will showcase the inspiring work of Bristol’s Black, African, Caribbean, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities as well as catalysing new community-led initiatives and ideas.

“Building on the great work undertaken by our pilot project Ambassadors, which is highlighted in The National Lottery Community Fund’s report, our new programme has huge potential to build greater connectedness, awareness and understanding across and within Bristol’s communities, leading to a more diverse, representative environmental community which celebrates and recognises the knowledge, perspectives and efforts of all.”

Today’s virtual event will also discuss The National Lottery Community Fund’s Climate Action Top Up pilot in Wales; a test project launched last year which awarded up to £10,000 of additional National Lottery funding to non-environmentally focused organisations and provided access to experienced advisors to help them identify practical action to implement more sustainable ways of working.

As well as being an opportunity to support communities across Wales to reduce their environmental footprint, it was an opportunity for the Fund to test and learn how they can support organisations they fund to be more environmentally friendly. Early indications show projects taking part will save 56 tonnes of CO2 and make cost savings. Increased climate knowledge, building environmental confidence and being a catalyst for other carbon-saving ideas have also been identified as additional community benefits provided by this pilot.

Today’s new report follows last month’s announcement of £14 million being awarded to communities across the UK as part of the National Lottery-funded Climate Action Fund, a ten-year £100 million fund that will reduce the carbon footprint of communities and support community-led movements that can demonstrate what is possible when people take the lead in tackling climate change.

Funding from The National Lottery Community Fund will support these projects to work together, share learning and be catalysts for broader and transformative change. Since April 2013, the Fund has awarded more than £340 million to environmental projects, through just under 4,800 grants. Thanks to National Lottery players, £41 billion has been raised for more than 565,000 good causes across the UK since 1994. National Lottery players raise £30 million every week for good causes in the UK. The National Lottery is playing a critical role in supporting people, projects and communities during these challenging times.

To find out more visit www.TNLCommunityFund.org.uk

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