A new government initiative involving voluntary and community groups has been launched to protect the environment and combat climate change.

Every Action Counts is designed to help community groups, clubs and societies across England get involved in simple environment-friendly actions which will make a big difference.

“Every community group big and small, rural and urban, can do something to make a difference,” said Mr Miliband of the three year initiative. “Every Action Counts will help unlock the potential of local groups and clubs across the country to encourage more people to join in and help to meet the big environmental challenges all of us face.”

The programme aims to help community groups, clubs and societies take simple everyday action on the environment. Such actions include fitting energy saving lightbulbs in community meeting rooms, appointing an energy champion to monitor bills, car-sharing to club events and collecting paper or cans from group members to recycle together.

The initiative will offer direct support to these local community groups as more than 1,000 Every Action Counts Community Champions will be on hand to provide advice and expertise. New community action packs will also be available to help clubs and groups carry out simple but effective initiatives such as saving water in community buildings or creating wildlife havens on club grounds.

The initiative is backed by national voluntary organisations representing thousands of local community groups. These include Bassac (the British Association of Settlements and Social Action Centres), the Community Development Foundation, the Urban Forum, Federation of City Farms and Gardens and BTCV. "The voluntary and community sector has a critical role to play on environmental sustainability, employing more than half of all community workers - who in turn support thousands of local groups across the country,” added Mr Miliband.

“The voluntary sector can help these groups take action on the environment as well as lead by example, showing local groups how it is putting environmental sustainability into practice”. Co-chief executive of the Community Development Foundation Alison Seabrooke, said: "On behalf of all the voluntary and community organisations involved, we are all delighted to be playing such a big part in the Every Action Counts initiative.

“Voluntary and community sector organisations have traditionally been at the forefront of a drive for greater social justice in communities.

“This initiative will help a wide range of voluntary and community sector networks to make a big contribution to national targets on environmental sustainability and to put this at the heart of all our work with communities".