A group of runners at night stand in a group and look at the camera
Credit: Run 4 Wales

Several Welsh sustainability organisations are being given a helping hand thanks to a £21,000 donation pot from the Run 4 Wales (R4W) Climate Action Fund.

At a pop-up event at the Railway Gardens in Splott on 25th January, Size of Wales, Green Squirrel’s Railway Gardens Project and Canolfan Waunfawr were announced as the recipients who would be receiving a share of the total.

Run 4 Wales’ Climate Action Fund aims to balance the impact that hosting major events has on the environment.

The innovative fund is generated through Run 4 Wales’ events and includes contributions from event organisers, participants and event partners, Brecon Carreg and Rubicon. Those opting out of receiving a race t-shirt at the finish lines also see their t-shirt donation entering the fund.

Last year more than £17,000 of donations were given towards projects supporting nature conservation, carbon reduction and climate adaptation, thanks to generous donations.

This year the donation pot is even bigger – with more than £8,500 coming from t-shirt opt-outs and over £8,000 through donations. The remainder was donated by Brecon Carreg and Rubicon.

Gareth Ludkin, Head of Sustainability at Run 4 Wales, said: “We continue to be committed to reducing the environmental impact of our events and are aiming to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030 and aim to be a climate positive events company by 2040.

“Through our Climate Action Fund our aim is to help balance the impact of our events by supporting sustainable development projects and green initiatives. We’re so thankful to all of our partners and participants who have contributed to it which has meant that we’ve been able to donate £38,000 so far.

“Last year we were able to support some brilliant initiatives such as Stump Up For Trees, The Initiative for Nature Conservation Cymru (INCC), Project Seagrass and Size of Wales.

“It’s been really great to bring everyone together at the event to celebrate these projects we’ve helped from 2023, as well as those who’ve been successful in receiving funding this year.

“Our fund has already grown so much within its first year and we’re excited to see what the future holds as we continue to build and develop.”

About the projects

Size of Wales

Size of Wales is a unique charity that is making Wales part of the global solution to climate change. They work with Indigenous and local people worldwide to grow trees and protect at least 2 million hectares of tropical forests – an area the size of Wales, as well as educate and inspire people in Wales to recognise the critical role Indigenous communities play in protecting the climate, biodiversity, and livelihoods.

They campaign to drive policy change and are calling for Wales to become the world’s first Deforestation Free Nation. Their vision is to help create a future where forest communities can thrive alongside healthy tropical forests – to make Wales part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.

Run 4 Wales was able to support the Regrow Borneo Project via Size of Wales through last year’s funding. The project aims to restore tropical forests through ethical, transparent, and research-led replanting – not simply to capture carbon but to plant trees in ways that improve local communities’ livelihoods and enhance biodiversity and ecosystem resilience.

This year’s donation will also go towards helping the charity achieve their aim of a future with forests, giving strength to tropical forest communities and Indigenous Peoples so that they and their forests can thrive and curb the impact of climate change for the whole planet.

Anna Harris, Forest Projects Coordinator, said: “Size of Wales is very thankful to Run 4 Wales’ runners. The support their funds have generated will be felt in tangible ways by forest communities in the tropics as they defend their forests against many threats, and develop sustainable livelihoods to support their families and wellbeing.”

Railway Gardens Project

Green Squirrel is a community interest company focusing on bringing people, place and planet together to inspire positive change. They run the Railway Gardens in Splott, which offers a welcoming green space for community action in Cardiff.

Railway Gardens aims to establish resilient relationships and networks in the community to help reduce the impacts of poverty, social isolation, lack of green space and climate impacts. It also aims to develop a green and thriving site that increases biodiversity, mitigates local flooding, produces food, and helps boost physical and mental wellbeing. Through a series of workshops the gardens also helps to support the community to develop appropriate and impactful ways to respond to the climate and nature crisis.

Becca Clark, Director at Green Squirrel, said: “We’re so grateful to receive this donation and we’re planning to use these much-needed funds to build a permanent shelter at Railway Gardens. Our gardens are where climate and community meet and this will help us extend the covered space that our community needs during events, activities or simply dropping in to have lunch or meet friends. It will improve the experiences of our community, volunteers, staff and residents, save us time and make the site safer and more welcoming.”

Canolfan Waunfawr

Canolfan Waunfawr (Waunfawr Centre) is a charity that has been serving the villages of Waunfawr and Betws Garmon since 1984. The Canolfan is widely used by over 1,000 people in the community with its popular Cylch Meithrin nursery, weekly ‘Panad a Sgwrs’ social events for the over 60s, as well as the village snooker and indoor bowling clubs. The main hall is also regularly hired out for yoga classes, school shows and events, council meetings and children’s parties.

Carys Owen, Canolfan Waunfawr Treasurer and Secretary, said: “This donation from Run 4 Wales’ Climate Action Fund will enable the Canolfan to take the first step of installing solar panels on its roof to reduce its electricity bills and running costs, and significantly reduce its overall carbon footprint. This is an important first step as the Canolfan is also seeking to replace its boilers when feasible with renewable alternatives.

“The funding will make a real contribution to the longer-term viability of the community centre for the benefit of all inhabitants in Waunfawr and Betws Garmon, young and old.”

Find out more about Run 4 Wales’ environmental policy: run4wales.org/community/sustainability/