Community-led climate action

Community climate action hubs 

We are building a network of regional community climate action hubs to provide a more strategic regional approach to climate change action. This 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. 

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

The hubs will provide support in their local areas, helping groups to take advantage of community funding opportunities, and reducing the administrative burden on projects. The hubs will also facilitate better networking, ensuring a joined-up approach is being taken to tackling climate change at a regional level. 

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 will involve six small towns, in the first instance, providing them with support to develop local plans focused on climate action, as we aspire to giving everyone in Scotland the means to have a say in how their local area should change as part of a fair and just transition to net zero.

Community engagement initiatives 

In addition to the initiatives set out above, we have announced a community engagement programme to stimulate wider behavioural change, to be delivered by Keep Scotland Beautiful. This programme will focus on empowering and equipping local communities to take action, with bespoke programmes of activity tailored to their needs. This includes:

  • Scotland’s Climate Festival will deliver a number of national and local festivals across the country
  • Guides and Scouts Climate Programme will build an engaging programme of climate focussed activity, and deliver a programme of Climate Emergency Training for Leaders
  • Community Climate Action and Training Programme will support seven communities to produce tailored community climate action plans

Climate Challenge Fund

Since 2008, the Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) has supported communities across Scotland to take action on climate change.

Keep Scotland Beautiful managed the fund on our behalf from its inception in 2008 until June 2021 during which time we provided over £110 million to fund over 1150 projects – helping communities to reduce reliance on car travel, cut waste, grow local food, and lower energy use in homes and community buildings. 

See the list of projects awarded with funding for 2020 to 2022. Projects continuing until March 2022 are now managed directly by us. Enquiries relating to these projects should be directed to

Learning from the Climate Challenge Fund

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, contact