New Net-Zero programme launched for charity sector in Cumbria & the North East

Become Green Together, a programme to help community organisations, charities and social enterprise organisations in Cumbria and the North East become more environmentally sustainable, has opened for applications and is keen for organisations from Cumbria to apply to take part.

The initiative forms part of the Going Green Together campaign, 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. The Going Green Together partners secured over £300,000 of funding from The National Lottery Community Fund and County Durham Community Foundation earlier this year to deliver the Going Green Together campaign over the next 15 months.

Going Green Together, a pilot project running until September 2023, has the goals of helping the voluntary, community, and social enterprise sector in the North East and Cumbria move towards net zero carbon emissions, and learn more about the best ways to achieve this. The project will also support 14 new climate action projects to be developed within communities across the area. The project builds upon the Going Green Together website which launched in Autumn 2021.

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, The National Lottery Community Fund and County Durham Community Foundation are keen to use this pilot programme to inform the develop of climate action work in other regions and nationally.

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.”

Become Green Together will create a supportive network of organisations who can learn together how best to make their working practices more environmentally sustainable. It will include subsidised training and personal support, and participants can request training sessions and the development of resources and toolkits based on their needs and interests. Membership will include accreditation with Investors in the Environment, and access to the Smart Carbon calculator, which they can use to measure their carbon footprint.

Up to 110 organisations will be able to join the Become Green Together programme, with applications open until September. You can find out more and apply here:

Quentin Merritt from Cumbria Action for Sustainability said:
“As Cumbria’s climate change charity, this is a great partnership for us to be involved with, a programme specifically for charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises to learn more about how they can adopt environmentally sustainable practices in their organisation.” Quentin added: “We can’t wait to support these organisations, and enable them to attend our accredited carbon literacy course later in the year.”

Alison Phillips of Cumbria CVS added:
“Cumbria CVS is pleased to be part of this partnership, offering groups in Cumbria the opportunity to access practical training, support and resources to help them improve their environmental operations and subsequently their environmental footprint.”

Duncan Nicholson, Head of Regional Funding for the North East and Cumbria at The National Lottery Community Fund, commented:
“As the largest funder of community activity in the UK, we know that communities have a big role to play when it comes to the climate emergency. Thanks to National Lottery players, we are able to fund programmes like Become Green Together to ensure community organisations are equipped and empowered to respond to take climate action, helping to create a world which will enable current and future generations to prosper and thrive.”

Going Green Together are also running two other programmes as part of this funded programme of work. The first is Think Green Together, which encompasses open resources such as the learning materials and action points already on the Going Green Together website as well as training sessions, briefings and networking events. The final is Act Green Together, in which fourteen partner organisations across the North East and Cumbria will be working with environmental organisations to develop new community-led projects in sustainability, waste reduction, biodiversity, and climate advocacy.

Going Green Together invites all VCSE organisations in the North East and Cumbria visit the Going Green Together website to find out more and join our mailing list and to apply for Become Green Together programme.

If you have any questions about Going Green Together, you can also get in touch by email: