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
We are supporting the development of a network of regional community climate action hubs. This will provide a strategic regional approach to climate change action.
Hubs will work to:
- build awareness of the climate emergency and actions local groups can take
- develop local plans
- help groups take up funding opportunities
- facilitate networking
- ensure a more joined-up approach to tackling climate change at a regional level
Two pathfinder hubs, the Highlands and Islands Climate Hub, (covering the Highlands, Orkney and Shetland) and and the NESCAN Hub (covering Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) were set up in 2021.
The hubs network is being expanded across Scotland, backed by £4.3 million in 2023 to 2024.
Community groups can apply to set up and lead a climate action hub in their area.
Find out more about climate action hubs including how to apply to set one up.
Network coordinators employed by the Scottish Climate Communities Action Network, are working with communities to understand the needs of their area, and support groups with the application process.
For more information on climate action hubs contact ClimateChangeEngagement@gov.scot.
Climate action towns
We are working with Architecture and Design Scotland to deliver a network of climate action towns.
This initiative involves nine small towns, providing them with support to develop local plans focused on climate action. It also aims to give a voice to communities in areas with little historical engagement on climate action as part of a fair and just transition to net zero.
The nine towns are:
- Alness (Highlands)
- Annan (Dumfries and Galloway)
- Blackburn (West Lothian)
- Campbeltown (Argyll and Bute)
- Holytown (North Lanarkshire)
- Invergordon (Highlands)
- Stevenston (North Ayrshire)
- Benarty communities (Ballingry, Crosshill, Lochore and Glencraig; Fife)
- Drongan, Rankinston and Stair (East Ayrshire)
Communities and wider stakeholders will work together to target local systemic barriers, deliver local plans, enable further collaborative working, and develop methodology for effective engagement and delivery of climate action..
The outcome of the work with the towns will be used to outline learning for climate action on a town scale that can be applied across Scotland and beyond
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Circular Communities Scotland’s Share and Repair Network supports existing, developing and brand new sharing libraries and repair cafes to support a move to borrowing instead of purchasing seldom used items and to give people skills to repair and re-use items. The project offers guidance, a mentorship scheme and support network for any group interested in setting up
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 ClimateChangeEngagement@gov.scot.