Become Green Together: the programme helping charities in County Durham tackle the climate emergency
The extreme weather events and natural disasters of this year have made it clear that climate change is a pressing crisis, and steps need to be taken in all parts of society to mitigate its impact. While the voluntary and community sector feels strongly about tackling the climate emergency – the communities they work with are particularly vulnerable to the fallout of climate disruption – organisations often feel that they lack the knowledge, support, and resources to make effective change happen. Earlier this year, Going Green Together secured £300,000 from County Durham Community Foundation and The National Lottery Community Fund to address these needs and support the sector towards Net Zero.
Become Green Together, a year-long programme developed as part of this project, attracted over thirty organisations across the North East and Cumbria when applications opened in September. These charities will take part in a subsidised peer support network and gain access to dedicated training from genee and SmartCarbon in areas such as creating sustainability strategies and calculating their carbon footprints. Now, Going Green Together has re-opened applications to the programme, so that more organisations can gain the help they need in becoming more sustainable.
The programme now has the support of local funders in making training more accessible. With the help of County Durham Community Foundation, full bursaries are available to be claimed by organisations in this region. This was an important step in removing financial barriers to taking part in the opportunity during the cost-of-living crisis. High levels of subsidy are also still in place for all organisations, with up to 75% discounts off the cost of training available.
The Going Green Together campaign is the first regional level programme of practical support to charity sector organisations in the country and the partners and funders, County Durham Community Foundation and The National Lottery Community Fund, are keen to use this pilot programme to inform the development of climate action work in other regions and nationally. Going Green Together is delivered by a partnership of the VONNE Climate Action Alliance (VCAA) members, VONNE, Cumbria CVS, Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS), genee, SmartCarbon and SIDE Labs.
Carol Botten, Chief Executive of VONNE commented:
“Thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund and National Lottery players and the County Durham Community Foundation, the North East and Cumbria are leading the way in encouraging and providing practical support to community and charitable organisations and social enterprises to enable them to learn more about environmental sustainability, ‘green’ their operations and reduce their carbon emissions, and work collectively to support and encourage each other in this work.”
Nathaniel Spain, Going Green Together Project Coordinator, added:
“For climate action to be successful, it needs to be collaborative. Become Green Together is a way to make change happen in the workplace across the sector, so that organisations of all sizes can find ways to be more sustainable. These organisations can then feel confident in sharing their knowledge with their networks and communities, and support them in also becoming greener. We hope that this will kick-start a sector-wide movement to take effective action in addressing the climate emergency.”
All voluntary and community organisations in County Durham are invited to apply by the 30 November by signing up on the Going Green together website. If you have any questions about bursaries please email firstname.lastname@example.org.