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National Lottery money helping Welsh communities to take vital steps in the fight against climate change

35 community groups from all over Wales have been taking part in the Climate Action Boost scheme over the last year. The groups, drawn from a broad and diverse network, were given National Lottery funding of up to £15,000 per group, along with support from Renew Wales or Sustainable Communities Wales, to help tackle the climate crisis.

The scheme covered a variety of environmental activities, namely reducing energy or moving to renewable energy, reducing consumption, increasing local food, and reduced or less impactful travel.

John Rose, Wales Director at The Fund said, “We all have a responsibility to protect the climate for future generations and The National Lottery Community Fund is proud to be a significant funder of projects that are taking action on climate change. Since 2016 in Wales, we have awarded £26 million through 386 grants which involved environmental action*, thanks to National Lottery players.

“We believe that community action is a powerful way to engage communities to play their part in addressing global environmental problems, and to respond to the climate emergency. By taking climate action we are not only making significant environmental improvements, but also helping people and communities prosper and thrive, as demonstrated by the great work the Climate Action Boost groups are doing.”

To mark the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, new research from The National Lottery Community Fund** revealed that almost half of Welsh adults (43%) agreed that COP26 will motivate them to take more personal action to combat climate change.

When asked who is responsible for tackling climate change, eight in ten people in Wales (80%) said local communities, while over half (57%) say they are either currently taking part in community-led climate action, or they plan to or will consider doing so in the future.

Some of the projects which received Climate Action Boost funding and are already making their contribution to tackling climate change in their area, are:

· Play it Again Sport – a social enterprise in the Rhondda Valley removing financial barriers to sport and reducing items being sent to landfill by selling donated sports clothing and equipment at reduced prices. They received £15,000 to purchase an electric car and to provide an electric vehicle charging point in Rhondda Fach, increasing their commitment to sustainability further.

· Enbarr Foundation – a community interest company supporting people to find employment in Flintshire. They identified that flooding was a key issue in their area and worked with Renew Wales to identify how they could collect water to put in flood mitigation systems to protect people’s homes and local wildlife, and to rescue the gardens at John Summers Building.

· Y Dref Werdd – a community environmental project in Bro Ffestiniog. They appointed an officer to run a plastic and waste-free green shop, and to collect food waste from supermarkets in an electric van to redistribute in the area. The officer was also involved in their tree planting programme and social prescribing activities, as well as developing a film toolkit to share with all households in the area to raise awareness of climate change and what could be done by everyone on a daily basis.

· EcoDyfi – a regeneration organisation for the Dyfi Valley in mid Wales. They set up a shared community e-bike scheme, and a scheme to help identify where homes are inefficient using a thermal imaging camera. They employed a Dyfi Biosphere Climate Officer to work for two days per week to set up these schemes, and to add impetus to Machynlleth Climate Action and EcoDyfi’s existing climate-related activities.

· Dr Mz – a youth drop-in centre run by Carmarthen Youth Project for young people aged 11-25 years old. The young people at Dr.M’z painted a mural to raise awareness of climate change issues on the side of their building and have been learning to ride their four new bikes safely, to reduce reliance on less sustainable travel.

· Glenwood Church – the church in Cardiff changed their lighting from metal halide bulbs to LED bulbs and installed solar panels on their main roof. These two initiatives helped them to reduce electricity costs, but more importantly, their carbon footprint.

Natasha Burnell, Enterprise Manager at Play it Again Sport, said, “We are so grateful to the Climate Action Boost fund for the support in helping us become more sustainable, for providing the resources we needed, and for inspiring us to increase our commitment to sustainability further.”

Vicki Roskams of Enbarr Foundation CIC agrees that the National Lottery support has made a big difference in their community: “Without the National Lottery funding we would never have been able to be in the position we are now, that’s fantastic. All we are is a facilitator for the community, and using our skills, knowledge and networks to make this happen. The community took this project on and it’s their ideas that create the vision for the future.”

All groups were supported by Renew Wales or Sustainable Communities Wales to develop an environmental action plan to reduce their carbon footprint.

Delyth Higgings from Renew Wales said, “It’s been great to be a part of this scheme by supporting groups to take action. We have seen such a variety of groups participating – many of them not ‘usual suspects’ when it comes to thinking about climate change and the range of actions they have taken and ideas that have come through has been amazing. We hope many of them will build on this and continue to do more if they can.”

Owen Callender from Sustainable Communities Wales added, “Working closely with The National Lottery Community Fund and Renew Wales has revolutionised the support we were able to provide to community groups across Wales – turning dreams and ideas into practical climate action.

“In many ways, the Climate Action Boost has been the wind beneath the wings of real change. Organisations that would have struggled to fund carbon-saving improvements have been able to see their ambitions come to life in record time, and are already seeing the impact. They are now a real influence across their communities, inspiring others to act.”

The National Lottery Community Fund distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. National Lottery players raise £36 million each week for good causes throughout the UK.

If you have always wanted to make a difference in your local community, why not look at the funding available from The National Lottery? To learn more about the funding available to support communities to take climate action, take a look here: https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/key-initiatives/climate-action-hub

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