Weston Communicating Climate Programme

The Weston Communicating Climate Programme supports UK environmental and climate charities to enhance the reach, power and impact of their communications.

This six month online programme gives charities free access to expert-led training, networking opportunities, resources and one-to-one sessions with media industry professionals to empower them to influence media discourse, policy and public sentiment on climate and environmental issues.  

The programme was initiated and funded by the Garfield Weston Foundation in 2021 and has directly supported 50 charities over the last two years. The programme continues to be funded by the Garfield Weston Foundation alongside additional funding and strategic support from MG OMD 

This year we’re recruiting a third cohort of 20 climate and environmental charities to take part in the programme, which will kick off in April 2023. With guidance from an Advisory Group comprising leading media organisations, environmental charities and climate communication experts, the programme will: 

  • Equip participants with the strategic communications skills required to engage and inspire their audiences 
  • Bring charity and media professionals together to share and apply insights 
  • Create space for charities to connect, collaborate and work together on climate and environmental issues 
  • Support the wider sector to find solutions to their most pressing communication challenges through masterclasses and resources 

Our vision is for effective environmental and climate organisations to have the skills and capacity for impactful communications so they can reach new and wider audiences and accelerate change. This programme helps achieve that.

Philippa Charles, Director, Garfield Weston Foundation

Impact so far

Over the past two years, the programme has successfully increased our charity participants’ confidence, skills and abilities across a range of areas of strategic communications including framing, engaging audiences, developing a communications strategy, using social media strategically, creating compelling content and engaging with the media. 

 At the end of the 2022 programme: 

  • 100% of participants rated the quality of the training as good or very good 
  • 90% rated their knowledge of using social media strategically as high 
  • 95% stated that they expect to be able to reach wider audiences 
  • 85% said they expect to reframe key messaging around climate change 
  • 85% reported that the programme provided them with the opportunity to form connections with new organisations 

This programme has equipped me with the confidence to implement the climate change communications we have been planning as an organisation for a long time.

Participant of Weston Communicating Climate 2022

An award-winning programme 

Our partnership with leading media agency MG OMD has received several awards. Our Charity Challenge in Year 1 saw 400+ MG OMD volunteers provide pro-bono strategic communications support to our charities, leading to the following awards and nominations: 

ThirdSector Awards 2022 Finalist. ThirdSector Business Charity Awards Highly Commended 2022. Campaign Ad Net Zero Awards.

In thirty years of my working life, I have never attended such a well-planned, inspiring and practically helpful training programme! We are so pleased to have been part of the 2022 cohort.

Clare Freeman, Director, Natural History Society of Northumbria, Participant of Weston Communicating Climate 2022

Credit: Cameron Mackay Productions

Programme overview

The programme takes place between April and September 2023 and is delivered entirely online.  

The core programme includes:  

  1. Five workshops led by communication experts on topics including: framing climate change, engaging different audiences and using social media strategically 
  2. Framing clinics with climate communications experts at Heard (formerly On Road Media) for charities to test their messaging and receive feedback 
  3. 1-2-1 support from industry experts at MG OMD to develop creative solutions to key communications challenges facing our charity participants 
  4. Monthly peer networking sessions to connect charities on the programme and provide spaces for learning and collaboration 
  5. Media training led by industry experts to support charities to more effectively engage with the media. 

Alongside the core programme, Media Trust will also deliver masterclasses and resources to support the wider sector to find solutions to their most pressing communication challenges. 

Selection criteria for applicants

This programme is open to applications from registered environmental and climate charities and CIOs, based in any part of the UK.

Please read the full list of criteria before applying.

Essential criteria

To be eligible for this programme, your organisation must meet the following criteria: 

  • Is a registered charity or a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) or an exempt charity  
  • Is based in any part of the UK  
  • Conducts work in any part of the UK 
  • Is focused on climate and/or environmental issues. This includes organisations which work on the intersection between climate and other related issues, causes or campaigns 
  • Has an annual turnover of under £5 million for the last financial year 
  • There is a member of staff or a volunteer responsible for communications (even if this is not their full-time role)  
  • The intended participant can commit to a minimum of 15 hours per month between April – September 2023 to attend sessions and complete pre-work and homework. Your organisation may send a different volunteer or member of staff to a session if the named person cannot attend 
  • You have agreement and support from senior leadership of your organisation to be fully involved in the programme 
  • Your organisation is able to supply:
    a) Two years of audited accounts
    b) A profit and loss or cashflow forecast for the next 12 months, demonstrating financial stability 

Desirable criteria

Although you do not have to meet all the below to be eligible for a place, we are particularly interested in organisations which can demonstrate the following:  

  • Have strong evidence of success in their field e.g., through case studies, public feedback or other recognition 
  • Already have some communications systems and activity in place and can describe how the programme will help them make progress in this area  
  • Can describe barriers and challenges in strategic communications that the programme could help address (e.g. difficulties engaging certain audiences, lack of visibility, skills gaps) 

We particularly encourage applications from organisations which have an ambition to engage in one or more of the following areas of work, or are doing so already: 

  • Undertake work to support greater involvement in environmental projects by marginalised groups or engage voices not often heard in the climate dialogue 
  • Meaningfully engage young people in their work (e.g. by engaging young people in their strategy, decision-making or communications, giving a platform to diverse youth voices, delivering projects targeting young people or collaborating with youth organisations 
  • Integrate social justice issues into their work (e.g. the cost-of-living crisis)  

Please note that in making the final selection, we will consider where applicants are delivering work in the UK, their size and environmental focus to ensure we have a cohort that is representative of the wider sector.   

Important Dates 

Applications have now closed.

Charities selected and notified: By 5 April 2023 

Programme begins: 20 April 2023 

Find out more

If you have any questions about the programme or the application process, please contact our Project Manager Valerie, at [email protected]

This is a great programme for those working on the climate agenda looking to bolster their capabilities and confidence to reframe key messaging to be more relevant and resonant, create cut-through content, engage with mainstream media and leverage social media to amplify their voice.

Su-Mei Thompson, CEO, Media Trust

Principal Supporting Organisations:





Our Corporate Partners

We enjoy outstanding support from the media industry. Our partners include: