The greatest environmental youth movement you’ve never heard of

Updated: Apr 15


Behind #GretaThunberg’s headline grabbing thunderstorm of the #YouthStrike4Climate and the Extinction Rebellion protests, there is a grassroots environmental youth movement tackling climate change and boosting young potential. Nearly 100,000 passionate, skilled and environmentally conscious young people are leading the way to a brighter future, through Our Bright Future, a programme funded by The National Lottery Community Fund.

Whilst the #YouthStrike4Climate has been effective at raising awareness of environmental challenges, the portfolio of 31 projects that form Our Bright Future, have quietly been making significant societal and environmental improvements, across the UK for the past four years.

Already young people have gained almost 4,000 environmental qualifications started more than 200 entrepreneurial projects and improved or created over 1,500 community spaces.

Our Bright Future is a once in a generation level of investment (£33 million), aimed at bringing together the UK’s youth and environmental sectors to generate a youth movement to stand up for the environment. It is made possible by The National Lottery Community Fund, the UK’s largest funder of community activity. 


One of the 31 Our Bright Future projects is ‘BEE You’. Blackburne House Group launched the unique BEE You Project, aiming to educate and up-skill young people in entrepreneurial activities and the ancient art of Beekeeping. We aspired to engage with over 600 young people aged between 12-24 over a five-year period (to 2020). We want young people to have an impact on the green economy; as well as challenging the decline of the local Honeybee population.

The Bee You programme runs for 15 sessions including practical and theoretical learning, resulting in a Level 1 Lantra Qualification. Their Beekeeper training ensures they are proficient to sustain a Bee population, as well as additional skills around Hive making; an understanding of bee habitats; environmental impact; honey extraction; product-making; marketing, and enterprise development.


The Bee You Project also offers a series of 'Taster Sessions' enabling young people to gain knowledge, understanding, and practical experience of honey bees, without committing to the full qualification.


“After my successful completion of the Lantra Level 1 Bee-keeping; I wanted to continue my involvement with the Bee You project. I studied toward a Level 3 in Teaching and Education at Blackburne House college and I am now part of the bee tutor team at Blackburne House.”


Rachel at a Our Bright Future meet up

Rachel in her beekeeping suit

Rachel Sampara, Beekeeper Tutor


23 year old, Aaron, started the Saturday beekeeping course at BEE You in spring 2018. He was enthusiastic about beekeeping but was concerned that he wouldn’t be able to continue with this hobby after the course finished. To solve this, he decided to volunteer to help the tutors and care for the bee hives.

Aaron Wheeler talking about his beekeeping experience at a Our Bright Future meet up

Because of his hard work and dedication, the BEE You project paid for him to do a teaching qualification, so he is now working towards becoming a Beekeeping Tutor! He will complete his Level 3 in Education and Training and become one of the Blackburne House Beekeeping Tutors by summer 2019. Watch his video


While the protests have stirred a sense of urgency for environmental action, it’s important to be encouraged by the action already taking by young people through Our Bright Future. 11-24 year olds are being given a seat at the table with key decision makers, contributing towards Government research, bringing local communities together and enhancing local green spaces for everyone.


Cath Hare, Our Bright Future Programme Manager says; ‘We’re giving young people a voice and the tools to make a difference in their local community, which is really inspiring for all ages. The £33 million investment, made possible thanks to National Lottery players, has been instrumental in supporting young people to connect, be empowered, develop new skills and improve their wellbeing. Enthusing young people about environmental issues now will lead to a lifelong passion for environmental improvements. I’m sure we will see many great things from Our Bright Future alumni’.


Peter Ainsworth, Chair of The National Lottery Community Fund, said: ‘It’s fantastic to see how young people across the UK have been motivated and encouraged by this project. Thanks to National Lottery players, nearly 100,000 young people have played an active role in shaping the future of their local environment. An investment like this is a great start to empowering and inspiring young people to help make their own futures brighter and their communities thrive.’

For more information and to get involved in an Our Bright Future project visit: www.ourbrightfuture.co.uk


Contacts:

Lynne Kavanagh, Engagement & Recruitment Officer, Blackburne House, 0151 7094356, Lynne Kavanagh

Anna Maggs, Communications Officer at Our Bright Future, 01636 670019 amaggs@wildlifetrusts.org

Cath Hare, Programme Manager at Our Bright Future, 01636 670083 chare@wildlifetrusts.org


Notes to editors:

Our Bright Future

Our Bright Future is an ambitious and innovative partnership led by The Wildlife Trusts, which brings together the youth and environmental sectorsThis £33 million programme funded by the National Lottery Community Fund is formed of 31 projects across the UKEach project is helping young people aged 11-24 years gain vital skills and experience and improve their wellbeing. At the same time, they act as catalysts for delivering change for their local environment and community; whilst contributing to a greener economy.

www.ourbrightfuture.co.uk


Social media: @Obrightfuture

National Lottery Community Fund

The National Lottery Community Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. It puts people in the to improve their lives and communities, often through small, local projectsThe National Lottery Community Fund is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. In 2016/17 it awarded £712.7 million and supported more than 13,814 projects across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposesSince June 2004 it has awarded £8.5 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people


BEE You works with schools and colleges throughout the city region, delivering Beekeeping lessons, part of curriculum and enrichment activities. This has enabled the young people we have worked with to gain knowledge about bees, the environment, and to build confidence.



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