Supporting Sustainable Living
The Supporting Sustainable Living (SSL) Grant Scheme aimed to bring about long-term changes in behaviour and lifestyle to help reduce Wales’ greenhouse gas emissions and help organisations and communities adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Environment Wales has delivered the Supporting Sustainable Living Grant Scheme for the Welsh Government, in partnership with Cynnal Cymru – Sustain Wales.
The scheme was the first in Wales to apply behaviour change methodologies to climate change issues and was seen as a ground breaking and bold initiative. It was a ‘test-bed’ to help inform the way forward in bringing about effective and sustainable changes in behaviour to help avert the worst potential impacts of a changing climate. It promoted and enabled multi-sector collaboration across academic, business and community organisations and provided a staged scheme to allow the scoping, piloting and roll out of interventions necessary to help meet this challenge. Funding was also available for capacity building, training and fact-finding visits.
Delivered over three years, 52 grants (ranging from £1,000 to £50,000 and totalling more than £700,000) were given to 25 recipients.
Each grant was strengthened by the support of a Development Officer acting as a critical friend and a source of ideas and support throughout project development, the application process and project delivery. This frequently included helping develop partnerships, strengthen monitoring and evaluation procedures and source match funding.
Funded projects tackled a range of behaviours around food, energy and travel. Significant learning has been generated that the scheme partners are now keen to share with new audiences wanting to try out this approach. This includes the learning from the projects that ran into difficulties as well as those that had successful outcomes and targets despite the complexities of the behaviour change approach.
The scheme has demonstrated that behaviour change projects do not always deliver quick wins and need to be considered in terms of generational impacts. It has however also demonstrated that these impacts can be far-reaching and deliver meaningful outcomes on climate change goals beyond expectations.
Towards the end of the scheme an independent evaluation concluded that:
“Behaviour change is happening with substantial learning occurring and real evidence of impact on people who have engaged with the project.