Accrington St Christopher’s has been chosen as one of a handful of schools to participate in a special pilot of the Young Green Briton Challenge – a national platform to nurture, support and celebrate youth-led, school-based sustainability action. Following the model of the school’s own award-winning embedded Sustainability program the need for a clear and urgent need for bottom-up community action is ever more evident as the energy crisis grips East Lancashire and the rest of the UK.
Accrington, Lancashire, February 21, 2023
The Challenge supports students aged 11-14 to learn and apply design, innovation, business and other transferable skills, empowering young people to explore local sustainability issues and design entrepreneurial solutions or campaigns to address the problems they identify.
Students will have the chance to receive seed funding and mentorship to support the development of their ideas. With background lessons delivered in joint enterprise by the Geography, Science and Technology departments, the school’s commitment already stretches across the school and into the community. We hope the Challenge will supercharge a new generation of positive social action in communities across the UK. Schools are at the heart of their communities and have the potential to be catalysts for positive change in the face of social and environmental crises.
The Challenge will build on previous community projects including Help for Homeless and Supporting the streets. The school is no stranger to empowering pupil voice, having previously sent pupils to address the European Parliament on sustainability issues.
Lilly and Niamh from Year 7 said about the day… “Yesterday was a really exciting learning experience. It was really enjoyable and great fun, we came home with a better picture on saving the environment.”
Headmaster Mr Jones thoroughly enjoyed the day and seeing the pupils engaging in all the tasks “We are delighted to be part of this innovative and forward-thinking initiative. Our pupils have risen to the challenge, proposing solutions and presenting plans to tackle seemingly intractable problems. It has been a joy to watch as young people cooperate and collaborate in order to plan a way forward which protects and sustains our world.”
Mrs Litherland (Eco lead for the school) commented that “Young imagination never ceases to amaze us. Fresh thoughts and ideas to issues that adults struggle to solve are often broken down in simple terms. Their positive attitude and respect for their local environment give us all hope for the future.”
The school prides itself on embedding sustainability practices from organic food growing, to Bikeability for every child and a sound scientific knowledge of energy issues, rather than responding to political buzzwords and issues driven by economics, we are guided by the needs of our students, their families and the community we serve. Students leaving our school at 16 or 18 years old have experienced elements of sustainability throughout their time with us, which in turn makes them more employable and able to be the entrepreneurs of the future.
The Young Green Briton Challenge is an initiative of the Green Britain Foundation, established by Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity. The charity focuses on Dale’s vision for a Green Britain, tackling the three areas of life that make up 80% of everybody’s personal carbon footprint: Energy, Transport, Food, as well as the need to make room for nature.
The Young Green Briton Challenge brings together the experience of a variety of organisations including the Ministry of Eco Education, Social Innovation for All, Volunteers for Future and I Have a Voice.
The Ministry of Eco Education weaves together the best free resources to support schools to embed sustainability across every subject for every pupil. The Ministry of Eco Education recently released their 1st Year Impact Report which evidenced how their approach increases nature connection, teacher confidence and sense of hope as well as wider community action.