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The Zero carbon fund

Text reads: 5 x £100,00 zero carbon grants. An image of three school pupils with their arms around each other smiling at the camera accompanies the text.

Let’s Go Zero’s Zero Carbon Fund is a one-off grants scheme for projects helping UK schools decarbonise, financed by Green Future Investment Ltd. It supports the work of Let’s Go Zero through discovering, spotlighting and supporting bold and innovative projects that boost green measures and cut carbon emissions in UK schools. 

This fund is a new development for the Let’s Go Zero campaign, which unites schools across the UK to work together to become zero carbon by 2030.  The Zero Carbon Fund gives five projects grants of £100,000 each over the course of a year. This grants programme accelerates exciting and impactful solutions that bring about longstanding change in educational settings. 

A huge thank you to all our applicants

Let’s Go Zero is grateful to every organisation applying for funding. We received 127 expressions of interest and 95 full applications, making it a highly competitive grant scheme that demonstrates the appetite for creating environmental change within schools. 

A panel of judges from a range of expertise helped select the projects with the greatest potential for creating impact at scale. The quality of the applications and range of approaches illustrates the depth and diversity of thought that exists for achieving net-zero and we wish all applicants the best going forwards.

Our Winners

We’re very excited to announce our grantees for the Zero Carbon Fund and can’t wait to begin working with them.

The selected grantees range from local, community-engagement projects with specific subject areas to nationwide, scalable platforms that can be applied to all aspects of school life. We’re proud to be able to work with these groups and believe they have the potential to bring long-lasting and sustained impact. 

The houses of parliament lit up at night with a projection of 'Teach the future' written in white on a red background.
Three students are stood outside the Department of Education to hand in a petition.
A group of councillors, local MPs and supporters of Teach the future are stood together in solidarity holding up banners.

Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS-UK): Teach the Future, Fund the Future

Teach the Future is a youth-led campaign to improve education on the climate emergency and ecological crisis. They want the curriculum to be reformed to prepare UK students for understanding and finding solutions to the impacts of climate change.  

This should also be reflected in the school buildings that students are taught in but there is currently a significant lack of public money and investment in the school estate. Because of this, Teach the Future will run Fund the Future: a high-profile advocacy campaign to secure commitments from all the major political parties to spend substantially more money retrofitting and rebuilding school buildings. 

By mobilising students and campaign supports to lobby key stakeholders and elected representatives and putting on political hustings and parliamentary hustings, Teach the Future hopes to make this a live election issue to unblock barriers and unlock funding for schools. 

Brighton & Hove City Council: Our School, Our World

Our School, Our World is a recognised and respected education programme that embeds climate change into every aspect of school life. The framework was developed by Brighton and Hove City Council and currently operates in 90% of Brighton schools. Now, through Zero Carbon Funding, this model will be taken to four distinct areas across the UK to create hubs of climate excellence. 

The project addresses the lack of resources, skills and time schools have that can mean making these changes on their own is problematic: school leaders lack direction, teachers aren’t confident in teaching these areas and young people are frustrated that they’re not being given the skills and knowledge they need. Our School Our World’s whole-school approach makes sure all staff have the knowledge, skills and aptitude to integrate climate change and sustainability directly into all curriculum areas. 

Our School Our World inspires a love of the natural world, supports a systematic programme of decarbonisation and allows all young people to become change makers. 

Young school students are stood in their school uniforms in front of a bed of flowers that they have planted.
A group of school pupils are stood holding spades around a tree that they have just planted.
Teaching staff are stood around a table together considering new climate related teaching materials and content.
Three students and a teacher are stood together wearing OsNosh aprons.
A group of student are stood in front of a vegetable garden that they have planted.
Students are crouched down looking at some chickens in a specially made chicken coop.

Shropshire Good Food Partnership: School Food Web

Shropshire Good Food Partnership is a charity improving access to healthy, sustainable food and creating local food systems that are good for people, place and planet. It brings together Shropshire’s most switched-on food producers, retailers and consumers to make food more resilient, sustainable and fair. 

The School Food Web helps integrate this approach in schools. Through food assessments and audits, it embeds a holistic approach in the whole school food chain from growing, procurement, cooking and waste. The project demonstrates how the  school food system can contribute towards school decarbonisation and build food resilience while increasing access to nutritious, healthy food.  

Getting food right is key if schools are to reach zero carbon. 30% of national greenhouse gases come from food and schools can play a critical role in demonstrating how to reduce these emissions in an inclusive and impactful way. Through working together, building new and existing relationships and uniting schools and communities, School Food Web will provide a blueprint for local, healthy eating that can be rolled out across the UK. 

Retrofit Action For Tomorrow (RAFT): Zero Carbon Action Builder

RAFT is an architect-led, award-winning organisation which specialises in retrofit, community engagement and zero carbon planning. Through the Zero Carbon Fund, it will be developing the ‘Zero Carbon Action Builder’: a simple, online tool that empowers schools to take smart, decisive action towards upgrading their buildings. 

When looking to improve infrastructure, schools can find it hard to know where to begin. There is often so much to be done and such little funding available that making choices on what to prioritise can feel impossible. The Zero Carbon Action Builder simplifies this decision – showing users where improvements can be made and what the impact of these changes will have.  

Drawing on RAFT’s deep expertise, the freely available tool will mean schools make well-informed choices on how to improve their estates. It will overcome challenges, drive change and inspire evidence-led pathways towards zero carbon buildings. 

Students sat in a classroom have their hands raised to the sky ready to answer climate related questions.
A group of students are sorting recyclable materials in to different bins.
A group of young students are stood in their uniforms in a corridor.
Students are sat in a classroom learning about climate related topics.

Eco Schools: The Playground

Eco Schools funding will go towards the creation of the ‘Playground’: an online platform where schools can take their current carbon footprint, apply hypothetical changes and model the potential carbon reduction.  

The Playground covers all areas of school-life from policies, actions and infrastructure giving a deeper understanding of what a school’s carbon footprint is and how this could be reduced. For instance, modelling the impact of introducing a vegetarian meal into the school menu. The Playground can be used as a teaching resource where pupils take part in discussions on how schools can be more climate-conscious. 

Through the Zero Carbon Fund, the Playground inspires schools, teachers and students to think more about what they can do to reduce emissions, inspiring action across the UK. 

www.ashden.org

Let’s Go Zero is a campaign lead by Ashden. All content © 2024 Ashden. Registered office: The Peak, 3rd Floor 5 Wilton Road, London, SW1V 1APRegistered in England and Wales as a company limited by guarantee. Registered number: 05062574/ Charity number: 1104153

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