Tackling environmental issues in Tyne & Wear and Northumberland

  • Grant Range: £2,000 to £20,000
  • Closing Date: We will close for new applications from Monday 2 December 2019. We will continue to work on applications received to that date. We will then reopen for new applications on Monday 13 January 2020.
  • Apply Online

The Local Environmental Action Fund (LEAF) exists to help people to deliver projects that tackle environmental issues in their local area.

LEAF covers the geographical area of Tyne & Wear and Northumberland. It is supported by a collaboration of funders which currently includes the Community Foundation, the Shears Foundation and a private donor. The fund provides an opportunity for the partners involved to work together to support environmental projects and share learning with grant makers and voluntary and community groups.

What will LEAF support?

Projects should have very clear environmental focus, but should also show how they have a positive impact on the quality of life of communities, particularly in areas of severe environmental and economic hardship. Applications should demonstrate one of more of the following outcomes:

  • Encouraging communities to get involved in environmental activities
  • Changing behaviours leading to more local environmental action
  • Having a positive impact on the environment
  • Sharing learning about the environment with others

We are most interested in projects that can show that they have a demonstrable change and immediate impact on the environment, but we will still consider ones where they are also working to raise awareness, education and change behaviour.

While LEAF will consider applications for projects focused on any environmental themes (except those outlined in the exclusions), priority in 2017/18 will be given to applications covering one or more of the following specific environmental themes:

  1. Pollution and litter
  2. Woodlands and trees
  3. Sustainable transport (e.g. walking and cycling schemes)

Who Can Apply

We are particularly keen for small local voluntary and community organisations to apply. Larger environmental charities are eligible to apply, but they must be able to demonstrate significant need and involvement from the local community in the development of a project proposals and its planned delivery.

Size of grants available

Grants of between £2,000 and £20,000 are available to voluntary and community organisations for revenue and/or capital projects in Tyne & Wear and Northumberland. Occasionally grants may be made over more than one year.

Application Process

You can apply using the standard online Community Foundation application form by clicking the Apply Online button above.

Applications for amounts up to £2,000 can be submitted at any time under a fast track system, and do not have to wait for a specific funding deadline in order to apply.

Applications for funding between £2,000 and £20,000 will be considered twice a year in September and March only. Deadlines for applications are 1st August and 1st February. Applicants are advised if successful within 1 month of these meetings.

Please note that as of April 2017, LEAF will no longer accept applications for community garden/ allotment/ food growing related projects via the fast track scheme.

These kinds of projects are only eligible to apply if you are seeking over £2,000 via the main LEAF funding rounds in September and March. If you have a community garden/ allotment/ food growing related project of up to £2,000 then you may wish to consider submitting a general application to the Community Foundation.

LEAF assesses and monitors applications against key impact themes in the Environmental Benefits table below. Applicants must be able to demonstrate how their projects are meeting at least some one or more of these themes. If you are unsure what this means, or how to calculate the outputs, please call the Principal Advisor, Environment to discuss.

LEAF Environmental Benefits: Specific outcomes and outputs

Impact theme




Reduce, reuse, recycle

Waste reduced (tonnes)


Efficient water use

Mains water reduced (m3)


Local food production

No. of people growing food


Habitat conservation

Area of habitat improved (ha)


Native species protected

No. and type protected


Alien species

Area of removal/ management (ha)


Environmental education

No. of participants in educational sessions


Environmental awareness

No. of people with raised awareness


Environmental networks

No. of networks/events created


Adapting to climate change

No. of projects with adaptation benefit


Severe weather impacts

No. of projects reducing impacts of severe weather


Climate change awareness

No. of people with raised awareness


Urban environments

Area of urban environment enhanced (ha)


Green infrastructure

Area of new green infrastructure (ha)


Local activity

No. of participants improving local environmental quality


Energy efficiency

Amount of energy reduced (MWh)


Renewable energy

Installed renewable energy capacity (kW)


Carbon emissions

Carbon emissions reduced (tonnes CO2e)

Exclusions/ what LEAF is unable to support

  • Conservation of charismatic well supported species or non-native species
  • Enhancement of habitat for sporting purposes
  • Expeditions or fieldwork outside of the UK
  • Playground or school ground improvements (unless there is significant wider community use)
  • Individuals
  • Zoos, captive breeding and animal rescue centres
  • Beautification competitions (e.g. Villages in Bloom)
  • Generic annual festivals
  • Capital costs of renewable energy projects.
  • Community garden/ allotment/ food growing projects unless the application is over £2,000 and you apply via the main LEAF funding route.

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