This month has seen the launch of our Green Kids and Communities initiative. Aimed at empowering young people in Waltham Forest to become advocates for sustainability, the initiative is working with five schools to increase environmental awareness and action.

Students at Kelmscott School in Waltham Forest have teamed up with local primary schools to encourage a sustainability movement in their community. The schools have each set up an Eco-team of pupils who will lead environmental projects such as energy saving, recycling and vegetable growing.

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On the 9th October the Eco-teams from Sybourn, Barn Croft, South Grove and Edinburgh Primary Schools met at Kelmscott for the  launch of the programme.

After an ice-breaker to find out the pupils favourite animals, the first part of the session was spent discussing four major threats to the living planet: climate change, biodiversity loss, plastic in the seas and air pollution. The children worked in groups to consider their importance and how they could work to address them in their local community. Over the course of the morning, they shared and developed ideas for projects that could be put into practice at their schools. All projects are being decided by the pupils, with support and guidance being provided by teachers and university volunteers from UCL.

The children were then tasked with managing a budget and producing an action plan from which to measure success. This provided a challenge, as the children had to then consider the feasibility of some of their ideas!

To help, year 10 pupils from Kelmscott inspired the primary school pupils by sharing a presentation of their own ideas, work and successes. As part of the community initiative, the secondary school has offered allotment space to several primary schools so that they can grow their own vegetables.

By the end of the session, each school had formed a clear action plan from their initial ideas. The initiative is funded through the Big Lottery’s Awards for All fund, and includes £1,000 for each school to kick off their projects. This means that the children will be able to see their own ideas and hard work put into practice, resulting in tangible changes at their schools.

By enabling schools to work together, the projects being developed are in line with both the interests of young people and the needs of the community. This will also benefit spaces in the local area. By creating gardens and wildlife refuges, the children will be improving local learning environments, promoting biodiversity, and will become more actively involved in the natural world.

Crucially, the initiative will enable pupils to develop transferable problem-solving, teamwork, communication and leadership skills, whilst also gaining experience of transforming their ideas and aspirations into reality. Giving the young people involved an opportunity to take part in meaningful environmental social action will help them form habits that will stick with them and help them to become healthy, positive and active members of their local and wider community. In addition, by helping pupils to understand that they can have a positive influence on their communities and the world around them, we hope to empower a generation of environmentally-minded young people.

Green Kids and Communities Launch

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