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Climate change

Helping communities respond to climate change
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Our environmental research and learning from our Communities Living Sustainably programme shows us how communities are responding to climate change. It also suggests ways to support communities to live and work sustainably.

Key messages

Understanding the current situation is the first step in addressing climate change needs. From the research, we can see that:When people are living with debt and struggling with a family in cold, damp, mouldy conditions, climate change concerns are a long way off

  • climate change is becoming less of a political priority. A bigger community-led response is needed instead
  • disadvantaged groups and areas are more likely to be affected by climate change
  • practical and intensive approaches are effective ways to engage vulnerable and harder to engage groups to take action
  • most projects have focused on climate change mitigation rather than adapting to climate change.

Options for funders

Our research highlights some factors which could help us and other funders more successfully address climate change needs. These include:Activities should.. work through existing community networks

  • focussing on community resilience and sustainability rather than climate change
  • adapting to the effects of climate change as a priority
  • supporting coping strategies for the consequences of climate change rather than responding to emergencies
  • addressing ‘here and now’ issues (such as food, money, fuel or employment) to help engage disadvantaged groups. Focusing on specific activities can help engage action-oriented people
  • looking at communities’ futures to generate interest – how do people want to live, work and bring up children?
  • partnering with Local Authorities and the NHS to help access wider resources. It can also help build community action.

More about the research

In August 2014 the third learning report from the Communities Living Sustainably programme was produced. The report draws out learning from activities addressing climate change and highlights the key issues and experiences that the projects have faced.

For more information please see the publications section below for the report. The other reports can be found on our environmental sustainability pages.

In 2012 we commissioned Emergent Research and Consulting to review action being taken by communities in relation to climate change. This information was analysed to highlight how funders like the Fund could support communities in this area.

Full details about the research are available under Publications below.


Communities Living Sustainably: Climate change learning report
Communities Living Sustainably: Climate Change learning summary
Community-led responses to climate change scoping study