Pink flowers in a garden

Climate Challenge Grants

Grants up to £5,000 are available for NHS Lothian staff who want to take action to reduce climate change.

Our Climate Challenge Grants will support you to take forward projects in your department, ward or area that put green activities at the core of your practices, helping you to reduce harmful greenhouse gases and tackle some of the issues surrounding climate change.

By reducing the unnecessary use of resources across NHS Lothian, you can help reduce the impact of healthcare activities on the environment and make it sustainable for future generations. So, if you’re looking to explore initiatives that will improve energy efficiency, increase waste recycling, reduce plastic consumption or reduce emissions from travel, our Climate Challenge Grants can help you take forward these projects and start to embed green practices into your activities.

Will you take up the challenge?

Apply Today

Deadline: 1 May 2024


  • Climate Challenge Grants of up to £5,000 are available for projects that help to tackle climate change and reduce your carbon footprint, eg. improving energy efficiency, recycling or avoiding waste, reducing plastic consumption or reducing emissions from travel.
  • Climate Challenge Grants cannot be used fund certain costs which are considered to be core building management provision by either acute services or GP practices, ie. LED lights, radiators or boilers.
  • Projects must be delivered within 6 months of starting.

Ideas of what you could use funding for:

Look at your practices through an environmental lens and think about what you could change and how funding through our Climate Challenge Grants can support you to do that. For example, consider:

  • Projects that explore how we can reduce, reuse and recycle more
  • Staff training to improve carbon literacy and understanding of sustainability in healthcare
  • Projects that reduce carbon emissions from smarter ways to travel for patients and staff
  • New ways of communicating the impact of climate change on healthcare services
  • Projects that make better use of sustainable food growing
  • Exploring how we can use technology to reduce resources and deliver more sustainable services
  • Projects that make better use of our outdoor estate to mitigate climate change and enhance biodiversity

If applying from a GP practice, it might be useful to look at the Royal College of General Practice website for ideas on climate change and sustainability.

Here are some of the projects that our Climate Challenge Grants have already supported:

Reusable surgical hats

A team at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh is significantly reducing operating room waste and saving money after introducing reusable surgical hats thanks to a Climate Challenge Grant from NHS Lothian Charity.

Climate Challenge Grants - Reuseable Surgical Hats

Woodcast splints as an alternative to thermoplastics

Thanks to funding from NHS Lothian Charity through their Climate Challenge Grants programme, NHS Lothian is rolling out the use of woodcast splints in hospitals across the region. This is part of their drive to reduce single-use plastics and their commitment to more sustainable healthcare.

Got an idea but want to chat it through?

We’d love to hear your ideas and look at different ways we might be able to support through the charity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Our Climate Challenge Grants are designed to empower you instigate your own Climate Challenge projects at a local level, helping you to make models of care more sustainable for future generations, as well as supporting a ‘green recovery’ from COVID-19.

The purpose is therefore to:

  • Support projects that will reduce the impact of climate change on public health and the environment
  • Support you to deliver initiatives that have a positive environmental impact, reduce harmful greenhouse gases, and tackle the issues surrounding climate change
  • Support you to increase your knowledge, understanding and awareness of environmental sustainability in health care

Climate change poses a major threat not only to our planet but also to our health. Factors such as extreme weather conditions, water and air pollution, and food and fuel poverty pose a major risk to public health.

As one of the largest public sector organisations in Scotland, NHS Lothian has an important role to play in minimising the environmental impact of healthcare, delivering services in a more sustainable manner, and putting green activities are at the core of promoting health and wellbeing among staff and the wider community. And we are here to help support them to achieve this.

As the official charity, and with a strategic focus on green health, we play a significant part in supporting NHS Lothian to meet their ambitious sustainability goals and commitments and make a meaningful difference to the health and wellbeing of people across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

There is huge motivation and commitment to embed sustainable practices across NHS Lothian. Every member of staff has an important role to play in supporting NHS Lothian to achieve their target of becoming Net Zero by 2040, and this funding will help you to implement changes in your own area that will contribute to this vision. It’s all the small changes that can add up to a major transformational change.

We believe small changes can have a big impact, every change you make to embed greener practices in your day-to-day activities can help to save the planet!

Think about your practices from an environmental viewpoint and consider what changes you could make in your own area; whether that be to improve energy efficiency, recycle or avoid waste, reduce plastic consumption or reduce emissions from travel.

It might be that you or your team need additional skills to help you improve your knowledge and understanding of sustainability in healthcare settings and how you can translate that into practice.

You could also consider how you could take forward initiatives that will help support a green recovery from COVID-19, such as implementing therapeutic greenspace programmes that support both mental and physical wellbeing or that make better use of sustainable food growing.

Yes. As the official charity of NHS Lothian, we work very closely with staff across the whole organisation to look at how we can complement and add value to the work that is already underway. These grants will support NHS Lothian to do more to build skills and capacity for developing a health service that is environmentally sustainable for future generations.

By complementing larger-scale projects with smaller projects through our Climate Change Grants, we can work together to make rapid, real and lasting change.

Grants are available from £50-£5,000, with four opportunities to apply over the year.

Our Climate Challenge Grants are awarded four times a year. Upcoming deadlines for applications are:

  • 1st May 2024 – decisions made late May 2024
  • 1st August 2024 – decisions made late August 2024
  • 1st November 2024 – decisions made by late November 2024
  • 1st May 2024 – decisions made late May 2025

To apply for funding, you must be an employee of NHS Lothian responsible for delivering services that directly support NHS Lothian patients, or employed by GP practices contracted to NHS Lothian.

You can apply for funding through our online application system

You will be asked to provide details on the following:

  • What you want to do
  • Why you want to do it
  • The patient group your project will benefit
  • The difference it will make and how you will monitor/evaluate this
  • Project costs
  • Who you are working with on your idea

Unfortunately, we are unable to assess incomplete applications or those that do not provide a cost breakdown, so if you are experiencing any issues with completing your application, please do get in touch: [email protected].

We will normally keep in touch with you about applications via email, although sometimes it may be useful to have a quick discussion over the phone. You can state in the application form how you would prefer us to contact you.

All applicants must have read and agree to our grant related Terms and Conditions.

  • People, Partners & Organisation (improved skills and understanding)
  • Sustainable Models of Care (service design for prevention and early intervention)
  • Travel and Transport (reducing travel and encouraging sustainable opportunities)
  • Greenspace and Biodiversity (making the most of the NHS estate)
  • Environment (managing environmental impact from other resources such as water, pollutants and pharmaceutical waste)
  • Carbon Emissions and Green House Gasses (contributing to net zero by 2040)
  • Built Environment (reducing energy demand and direct emission)
  • Sustainable use of assets (improved procurement, waste management and recycling)

NHSL Sustainable Development Framework diagram

For further information, visit: NHS Lothian Sustainable Development Framework and Action Plan

Together we can play a significant role in reducing our carbon footprint, limiting our impact on the environment and making a significant difference to public health.

Apply today