Community-led climate action

The transition to net zero will impact on people and communities. Encouraging transformational change across all of our communities and supporting them to be climate ready is vital in our just transition to net zero.

Community climate action hubs 

The Scottish Government is supporting the development of a network of regional community climate action hubs. This will provide a strategic regional approach to climate change action.

The network of regional hubs will be spread across Scotland. Two pathfinder hubs, one in the North Highlands led by Thurso Community Development Trust and one in the North East led by the NESCAN Hub (North East Scotland Climate Action Network), were launched in September 2021. 

The hubs help groups:

  • develop local plans
  • take up community funding opportunities
  • facilitate networking
  • ensure a joined-up approach is being taken to tackling climate change at a regional level

This approach will allow us to more effectively support communities in making the transition to low carbon and climate resilient living.

We aim to build a network of climate action hubs across Scotland. Hubs should be shaped by and be responsive to the needs of their communities. We are therefore keen that the process to create further hubs is led by communities. The Scottish Communities Climate Action Network (SCCAN) is recruiting network coordinators to bring communities together and this will facilitate discussions on the shape and design of developing hubs.

For more information on climate action hubs, please contact

Climate action towns

In March 2021, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform announced that we would work with Architecture and Design Scotland to deliver a network of climate action towns.

This initiative involves seven small towns, providing them with support to develop local plans focused on climate action. This will give them a voice and engage those that may not have previously engaged in climate action as part of a fair and just transition to net zero. 

The seven towns are:

  • Alness (Highlands)
  • Annan (Dumfries and Galloway)
  • Blackburn (West Lothian)
  • Campbeltown (Argyll and Bute)
  • Holytown (North Lanarkshire)
  • Invergordon (Highlands)
  • Stevenston (North Ayrshire)

As the programme enters its second year, communities and wider stakeholders will work together to identify their priorities and start to design projects that can tackle the impacts of climate change on their town through mitigation, adaptation and behaviour change.

Community engagement initiatives 

To support the wider work of the climate action hubs, we also fund several smaller initiatives that provide specific and targeted support:

  • SCCAN is a volunteer-led network that supports community-led action in Scotland to address the climate and nature emergency, and work for a just, thriving and resilient Scotland. They are developing a Climate for Change programme and training facilitators to hold conversations with small groups. If interested in hosting a conversation, or training as facilitator email:
  • the Community Climate Action Plan programme delivered by Keep Scotland Beautiful supports seven communities to produce tailored community climate action plans
  • Circular Communities Scotland’s Share and Repair network supports existing, developing and brand new sharing libraries and repair cafes.

Climate Challenge Fund

The Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) ran from 2008 until 2022 and supported communities across Scotland to take action on climate change.

During this time, we provided over £110 million to fund over 1150 projects. These helped communities to reduce reliance on car travel, cut waste, grow local food, and lower energy use in homes and community buildings. 

Keep Scotland Beautiful ran the fund on the Scottish Government’s behalf. More information on the projects funded can be found on their website.

Climate Challenge Fund review

We carried out a review of the CCF in spring 2019 looking at how the fund can continue to best support communities in taking action to tackle climate change.

The review showed that the CCF has played an important and valued role. However, most of the people we spoke to did feel that while helping communities to address climate change was still a relevant purpose, the CCF needed to be revised.

Other important findings included support for:

  • the inclusion of adaptation
  • widening the CCF to include established organisations working with communities
  • improving strategic and networking opportunities
  • encouraging shared learning

There was also support for introducing longer term funding than the CCF currently offers as well as for smaller funding pots.

Academic assessments of the CCF were reviewed alongside literature on other similar community-based sustainability initiatives. The findings were consistent with a number of findings from the review, including support for longer term projects and improved networking opportunities. The literature review also highlighted the need for improved support around the legacy of the projects. Read the full literature review.


For more information on our policy supporting community-led climate action, email

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