Cardiff Climate Action Cafe

Cardiff Climate Action Cafe provides opportunities for the community to learn more about taking positive action against climate change.

Our story

Karen Heffell and Dr Simon Hatherley, co-founders, Cardiff Climate Action Cafe

Cardiff Climate Action Cafe was established in March 2022 in Grangetown, Cardiff. It is run by us – as two co-founders – along with other volunteers from the local community. The initiative is hosted by Grange Pavilion – a charitable trust – as part of a wider project supported by ‘Together for Our Planet Lottery’ funding.

The aims of the Cardiff Climate Action Cafe are, firstly, to provide opportunities for the community to learn more about taking positive action against climate change. Secondly, to encourage discussion about and support people to take positive climate action at a local level; and thirdly, to provide opportunities for community members to meet, socialise, share experiences, and learn from each other.

The idea surfaced during the Covid-19 pandemic while reflecting on how people in our community had been feeling powerless and not in control over the environment around them.

It’s important to remember that we all have a part to play in tackling climate change. We’re not powerless. The Cardiff Climate Action Cafe was set up to empower people and provide encouragement and support to take climate action at a local level.

We’re both members of the Grange Pavilion Gardening Group – and along with a couple of fellow volunteers who are also co-founders – we managed to secure lottery funding to pilot this project for 12 months.

The cafe will host one event per month which will include meetings, talks, festival style gatherings, and practical workshops on a variety of topics. All events will be free to attend. Simon is an expert on carbon reductions in the built environment and will be delivering future cafe sessions. There has been a high level of interest from local community members about learning how to save energy due to recent hikes in energy prices. Simon’s knowledge in this area should prove invaluable.

Discussions have already taken place with various local and national organisations who can collaborate with the Cardiff Climate Action Cafe or advise us on the content of future events.

These include Green Squirrel, Cardiff University, UCL, Edible Cardiff, Renew Wales, Grow Cardiff, The Micro Greengrocer, and The Honeycomb Cooperative. Collaboration is essential, as although volunteers do possess expertise and knowledge linked to taking climate action, we too need to learn from others and share best practice.

Involving as many people and organisations as possible that can provide expertise in relation to the climate action agenda will ensure participants gain practical skills to effectively reduce their carbon footprint.

Our ambition is for the¬ cafe to become sustainable long term and we can see the benefit in it eventually becoming a community interest company. We feel that this would better enable us to secure future funding and expand our work.

Our advice

As a project run by volunteers, the main challenge for us was securing finance. We were made aware of funding that was available through the National Lottery for projects that address climate change, so we then completed a bid application for lottery funding. Having no prior experience of writing one, it proved to be a real challenge, but ultimately proved successful.

We'd recommend those that haven't written a lottery funding application before to ask someone with experience of the process to look over your bid. We asked a Project Manager at Community Gateway, which manages Grange Pavilion, for their feedback, which was very helpful.

We also received helpful advice from Green Squirrel, who are a Cardiff-based social enterprise offering practical and creative opportunities for individuals and communities to act on climate change. They’re an organisation that we’ve managed to build a good rapport with over many years.

Our metrics

By recording how much engagement we get in-person at our events as well as social media interaction and engagement.
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Dr Rhys Jones and Richard Parks, guest speakers at our launch event.
‘Nature and Us’ ambassador Richard Parks speaking at our launch event.
Some of our launch event attendees gathered in the Grange Pavilion Garden.