Eco Innovation

£100k grants for five schools’ climate projects

8th May 2024
Paige West

Five sustainability projects collaborating with UK schools will each receive £100,000 to enhance green initiatives and reduce carbon emissions, as part of the UK schools’ sustainability campaign, Let’s Go Zero.

This funding marks a new phase for the Let's Go Zero campaign, which aims to unite schools across the UK in achieving zero carbon by 2030. The 'Zero Carbon Fund', a one-off grants scheme funded by Green Future Investments Ltd, will support these organisations over 12 months, accelerating their innovative work with schools.

This announcement aligns with a growing emphasis from policymakers on schools as catalysts for community change towards greater energy efficiency, environmental friendliness, and a zero-carbon future. The funded projects engage young people aged 18 and under and address a spectrum of sustainability issues pertinent to schools, including food systems, retrofitting of school buildings, energy efficiency, carbon reduction, and staff training.

Those receiving the climate-focused grants include: Shropshire Good Food Partnership: Schools’ Food Web – a community-food project which promotes sustainable, healthy and local eating in schools; Keep Britain Tidy’s Eco-Schools: Count Your Carbon Playground' that models the carbon reductions of changes to school policies, actions and infrastructure; Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS-UK): Fund The Future, Teach The Future: a student-led campaign asking the next government to finance a rebuild and retrofit of the school estate; Retrofit Action For Tomorrow CIC: RAFT Zero Carbon Action Builder - a tool that enables schools to take smart, informed action to retrofit their buildings, and Brighton & Hove City Council: Our Schools Our World – skill and knowledge training for staff to help them teach a progressive sustainability-focused curriculum.

Alex Green, Head of Let’s Go Zero says: “Through this Zero Carbon Fund we have discovered some really bold and innovative projects that will help schools implement exciting and impactful solutions which bring about longstanding change in educational settings.

“To win the grants, applicants had to demonstrate how their work is addressing a compelling need and how they will measure that impact, sustain the project beyond the funding, and outline long-term goals. We prioritised those that focus on less-advantaged areas and those that include youth and community voices in decision-making. We’re incredibly excited to see what sort of changes will be made over the next year by each of the five winners to help schools make great strides in their journey to being zero carbon.”

The 5 innovative projects:

Keep Britain Tidy's Eco-Schools: The Playground

Photo: ‘The Playground’ web application will help teachers and students to explore their carbon footprint and decide on actions.

This project will develop the ‘Playground’ – a completely new section of the ‘Count Your Carbon’ website that allows staff and pupils to take their most recent carbon footprint, apply hypothetical changes (school policies, actions, infrastructures) and model potential carbon reductions.

The Playground will foster deeper understanding of a school’s carbon footprint and how to reduce it, improving climate literacy and inspiring pupils to be more climate-conscious. It will enable a teacher to explore the school's carbon footprint with pupils, before giving them an active role in reducing emissions.

Adam Flint, Education Manager from Eco-Schools, says: “Keep Britain Tidy and Eco-Schools couldn’t be more excited to continue our great relationship with Let’s Go Zero on this brilliant project.

“The digital ‘Playground’ will be a completely new section of the Count Your Carbon website. It will allow schools to take their most recent carbon footprint, apply hypothetical changes to school policies, actions, and infrastructure, then forecast the possible carbon reductions. Along with knowledge and insight from Let’s Go Zero’s Climate Action Advisors, the ‘Playground’ will help schools create impactful and cost-effective Climate Action Plans.”

Retrofit Action For Tomorrow CIC – Zero Carbon Action Builder


Photo: RAFT’s extensive work on school retrofits will be shared with schools nationally to learn from and replicate. Credit: Agnese Sanvito

RAFT is an architect-led team with expertise in deep building retrofit, community engagement and zero carbon planning.

This project focuses on the development of the ‘Zero-Carbon Action-Builder’ – a data-led practical tool that enables schools and school estates to take smart, informed action to retrofit their buildings helping drive change, overcome challenges and develop pathways to zero carbon buildings. It will convert RAFT’s site audit, project planning and community engagement expertise into a national-scale resource, accessible to any UK school.

Harry Paticas, Managing Director of RAFT, says: “Our new platform will integrate our deep retrofit experience within an accessible, easy-to-use, and scalable tool empowering schools and school-estates to move ahead with relevant, practical and outcome-led action. Schools will be encouraged throughout to tell their stories and share knowledge to inspire wider change.”

Shropshire Good Food Partnership: Schools’ Food Web 


Photo: Developing ‘food citizens’ is essential to understand the role of food in sustainable living.

The Schools’ Food Web demonstrates how the school food system can contribute towards school decarbonisation, build food resilience, and increase access to healthy food.

It will cover growing, preparing and eating good food, through experiential-based learning and activities at home and in wider community. This replicable model will provide a path to sustainable action, the Schools’ Food Web system can contribute towards school decarbonisation and build food resilience while increasing access to nutritious food.

Jenny Rouquette, Shropshire Good Food Partnership Director, says: "This grant from Let’s Go Zero will allow us to really look at the whole school food system, how it can contribute towards decarbonisation, building food resilience and increase access to healthy, nutritious food for all.

“The children of today will inherit a vastly different world to that of previous generations. Through growing, local procurement, cooking, eating, taste testing, the discovery of low carbon foods and minimising food waste in schools, we hope to empower food citizens for the future.”

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


Photo: Fund the Future intends to influence politicians to secure commitments to retrofit and rebuild state schools to be zero carbon.

In the run-up to the general election, Teach the Future will run ‘Fund the Future’, a high-profile advocacy campaign. Fund the Future will build on the reputation, progress, and political connections of Teach the Future to unlock substantive new public monies for the retrofitting and rebuilding of the school estate across the UK. Success will help the sector get to net zero much more quickly than the legally-binding 2050 target.

Liv Marshall, 16, Teach the Future Campaign Organiser, says: “We are delighted to have been selected by Let’s Go Zero. Through this fund, Teach the Future will run a high-profile campaign in the lead-up to the general election to secure commitments from major political parties to spend substantially more money retrofitting and rebuilding state schools.

“At the current rate of spending, the Department for Education will take 81 years to decarbonise the school estate. This massive funding gap is a disgrace and must be closed, so we intend to make this an election issue by engaging with candidates and by empowering students and teachers to share evidence of the poor state of their school buildings.”

Brighton & Hove City Council: Our Schools Our World

Photo: Teachers around the UK will benefit from Brighton & Hove Council’s skills and knowledge training.

‘Our Schools Our World’ creates a recognised framework for sustainability in schools which focuses on curriculum and operational structures. Currently up and running in 90 per cent of schools in Brighton, the aim is to set-up four hubs in different regions across the country to transform the way climate education and action is delivered.

The programme addresses sustainability in schools by delivering skills and knowledge training for staff and implementing a progressive curriculum for students. It fully and systematically supports the reduction of school emissions, nurtures children as changemakers, influences family behaviour and provides hope for a positive future.   

Katie Eberstein, Environmental Education Officer, says: “We’re delighted to be able to share the sustainability and climate change work developed in Brighton & Hove with 4 other local authorities.  Through 'Our Schools Our World' schools will enable their pupils to have a deeper understanding of sustainability through the curriculum, empower young people to become changemakers and take the transformative steps they need to reduce their emissions and increase biodiversity.  It’s a programme of hope and we’re very excited to work with Let’s Go Zero on this.” 

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