Scottish Communities Climate Action Network is a grassroots network of community groups that are taking action on climate change. As a ‘community of communities’ we provide a shared vision and voice for our members and work to address barriers and challenges so as to enable communities to shape their own low-carbon future and promote local resilience and wellbeing.

  • Support and facilitate community groups into climate change action.
  • Address barriers and challenges to action on climate change.
  • Provide a voice to communicate a shared vision to the wider world.
  • Broadcast good practice and innovation.

Communities have a unique and crucial role in creating a sustainable, low-carbon future – creating sustainable places for us each to live is what this is all about. Government and national NGOs have a clear role to play in supporting communities, but delivering a low carbon Scotland is about communities leading, and being empowered to do so. Our Vision for Scotland in 2024 was an outcome from our 2014 members conference.

Many community groups throughout Scotland have embarked on exciting projects to mobilise local action on creating a more sustainable future. There have been many remarkable and inspiring successes… but it hasn’t been plain sailing. Scottish Communities CAN exists to provide mutual inspiration and support and to help overcome the barriers and create the supporting infrastructure and policy environment needed to empower communities and unleash their creative energy.

As a grassroots network we are able to listen to our members to find out what their concerns really are, and to create workplans around their priorities. As a network, we provide:

  • An independent voice. We are totally  independent, run by volunteers elected by the membership.
  • A community of communities that trust each other and willingly provide mutual support and share their learning
  • A wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise in delivery on the ground, often hard-won, in groundbreaking situations.
  • A platform of grassroots community action on climate change, independent of any single funding mechanism

Membership is open to all constituted community groups across Scotland that are taking action on climate change, including groups funded by the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund. Our volunteer ‘working groups’ and short-life task groups take forward our work plans with support from a part-time secretariat funded by the Scottish Government -currently provided by Changeworks in Edinburgh.

As a community run network, we are active members of the Scottish Community Alliance and, through this, have the opportunity to engage with and learn from over 1200 community organisations across Scotland. We are also actively engaged with newly-developing, community-led networks across the UK and Europe. This has the potential to provide further support, inspiration and learning among our members as well as for gaining valuable insights into how best to create the conditions in which community action on climate change can thrive, so as to enable the rapid decarbonisation required by Scottish Government targets. We also work very closely with the Climate Action Support Programme that is run by Keep Scotland Beautiful as part of the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund.

For more details of how we are organised as a network, see our Constitution.


In 2010, Simon Pepper and Rachel Nunn initiated a piece of work with communities and those organisations working with communities, to look at what hampered them from taking action on climate change. The Framework for Community Action on Climate Change identified 14 barriers to community action.

The community groups at the Climate Challenge Fund Gathering 2011 agreed that there was a need for a community-led team to begin to tackle these barriers. The Steering Group for the Scottish Communities Climate Action Network was then formed– also known as Scottish Communities CAN.

The background gives more information about the history of the Framework, and the steps that led to the creation of Scottish Communities CAN.