Empowering Local Action on Climate Change

The London Borough of Brent started a community climate action grant to involve residents in fighting emerging climate issues. Over two years, 71 diverse projects have been funded, spanning from biodiversity initiatives to educational programs and energy efficiency projects. Acknowledging the difficulty in involving communities in climate action, particularly with such limited resources, Brent makes a priority its collaborative efforts with residents. Understanding financial constraints as a significant barrier, the council launched the Together Towards Zero Community Climate Action Grant in 2021. Applications are open to numerous entities, laying emphasis on projects that enhance biodiversity or offer tangible carbon savings. The grant aims to simplify the application process and provide upfront payments to alleviate financial barriers.

The impact of the grant has been substantial, with projects ranging from the creation of green spaces to education, waste reduction, and more. Notably, initiatives like creative educational dance sessions in schools display an innovative approach to environmental awareness. Responding to feedback, the grant amount was increased to £5,000 per application for the second round, aiming for projects with a lasting community impact. To sustain this approach, Brent plans to continue the grant scheme and has published a showcase book highlighting successful projects.

Lessons learned include the importance of aligning the grant process with community needs while ensuring compliance with internal governance. Additionally, demonstrating project impact is crucial for securing future funding and inspiring community involvement. Overall, Brent’s community-driven climate action grant illustrates a proactive and inclusive approach to addressing the climate emergency while fostering community engagement and innovation.