Introducing the Young Green Briton Challenge
Volunteers for Future is really excited to be a founding partner of the first Young Green Briton Challenge, a national platform to nurture, support and celebrate youth-led, school-based climate action.
The Challenge supports students aged 11-14 to learn and apply design, innovation, business and other transferable skills, empowering young people to explore local climate and sustainability issues and design entrepreneurial solutions (Eco-Ventures) or campaigns (Eco-Campaigns) to address the problems they identify.
This daring new initiative is in its pilot year and during 2022/23 is engaging 16 schools and over 2700 students across England with a wide demographic and geographic mix of students and schools.
Each of the 16 schools has selected a whole year group (either Year 7, 8 or 9) to participate in the Challenge. During the Launch and Explore phases teachers deliver an assembly and around 3-6 hours of content which serves as an introduction to climate change and local contributing factors and impacts. Students will form teams and pick an issue (of their choice) to focus on for the rest of the Challenge. This content has been delivered differently in each school through Geography, Science, D&T, PSHE and tutor time. The range of issues selected by teams is wide and includes biodiversity loss, air pollution, plastic pollution, littering, food waste, deforestation, fast fashion, access to renewable energy and lack of sustainable transport.
The design workshop is typically a full day workshop with a whole year group in a large space within the school. The workshop is facilitated by the Young Green Briton team and students work in teams to explore the issue they have selected (problem analysis), consider different stakeholders and then design and prototype solutions. The workshop culminates with each team pitching an idea for how to address climate change locally. This typically means a solution that can be implemented within the school or the local community, although some solutions are digital so could have wider reach.
After the design workshop teams work together to further prototype and develop their ideas further, into either projects, enterprises or campaigns. Teams then pitch at an Eco Dragons Den for investment. Within each school 5 teams are receiving £100 seed investment plus mentorship from our incredible team of volunteer Challenge Mentors to put their ideas into action. This phase is currently in progress with 80 local student led climate action projects being implemented across England. One team and project will be selected from each school in June to attend a national finals event at the House of Lords where 4 teams will receive £1000 to grow the impact of their projects or enterprises.
The Young Green Briton Challenge is a pilot that is built for scale. By combining career readiness skills with climate education and school based climate action, the Challenge builds green skills and celebrates youth-led ideas whilst helping to improve the school and wider community.
The Young Green Briton Challenge is designed and delivered for the Green Britain Foundation as a partnership between four organisations - the Ministry of Eco Education, Social Innovation for All, Volunteers for Future and I Have a Voice.
"Participating in the Young Green Briton Challenge can foster an entrepreneurial spirit among students, empowering them to develop simple but innovative solutions to environmental challenges and create sustainable business ideas. By nurturing their creativity, resilience, and leadership skills, the challenge inspired our Corbridge Middle pupils to become changemakers who not only tackle the pressing issues of today but also shape a more sustainable future for generations to come."