Case study: Community event in Swale

Swale Borough Council wanted to reach out to citizens who were not engaging with their environmental work.

Some funding from The Climate Coalition helped them stage events and make meaningful connections in their community.

The problem they faced

One of the biggest challenges public sector bodies face in their environmental projects is how to engage unengaged people.

Like most organisations, most of Swale Borough Council's engagement work had been in partnership with existing environment-focused community groups.

The work of these groups cannot be understated, but they are already very proactive in their communities.

The climate emergency will impact every person and every part of society, even those who don't engage with it.

To make real progress, we need to engage people who don't fully understand the urgency, and bring new voices into the conversation.

What did they do

Swale Borough Council helped local groups, schools, charities, art collectives and other local organisations to organise 30 small, targeted events around the borough.

The events were targeted at specific groups of people, with different themes, and fell under the banner of  'Swale's Great Big Green Week'. All event organisers received training from the council to help these conversations.

With a successful bid for £6,500 of funding from The Climate Coalition, Swale Borough Council were also able to promote the events locally.

Some of the events hosted in communities included:

  • litter picks
  • environment themed art and crafts
  • group planting events
  • pollinator giveaways
  • saving water workshops
  • a talk by Professor Mark Maslin supported by students from Queen Elizabeth Grammar School.


The varied calendar of events and activities reached over 1200 residents.

It was an excellent sharing and learning experience, whilst being good outdoor exercise too.

Attendee of Walk, Talk, Draw

It was such a positive and fun day. All the volunteers really enjoyed themselves and it was so lovely meeting some of the local residents who want to take part

Organiser of The Big Local Beach Clean

Thank you for supporting us. From small beginnings I think great things will grow in terms of generating a ‘can do’ positive approach to the crisis rather than dwelling on the doom and gloom.

Volunteer from Lynsted Community Kitchen Garden

But the best thing to come out of the events, was the community network built during the planning. The groups who organised events meet up regularly. They share ideas, collaborate on projects, learn about each other and involve other local groups.

Without this grass roots network, much of their good work would be unknown to us, but now we can support them with funding and guidance.

The future

Swale Borough Council is preparing for Great Big Green Week 2022, with an even bigger line up of events.

The relationship between the council and the community network has been healthy and collaborative.

They are now expanding the scope of the network to include sports clubs, secondary schools and charities not focused on environmental issues.

Get involved

If you have any questions about our case study, or have any ideas for future trials we could run, email