Young climate activists and community groups across the UK are gearing up to run a series of projects to encourage young people and communities to get involved in conversations and positive action on climate change, after receiving funding from Virgin Media O2.
The projects, which have received grants from Virgin Media O2’s Together Fund, will mark Great Big Green Week (18-26 September) – spearheaded by The Climate Coalition to highlight action being taken to respond to the climate crisis.
The projects are being held in towns and cities across country – from Belfast to Birmingham – with many of them organised by young environmental leaders who are taking positive action to bring communities together to tackle climate change in the places they live.
It comes ahead of the UN climate summit, COP26, which is taking place in Glasgow in November and will bring together world leaders and activists to tackle climate change.
Tracey Herald, Head of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at Virgin Media O2, said:
“We’re proud to support young climate leaders to bring forward their ideas and solutions to the threats posed by climate change, as part of Great Big Green Week. We know that young people are increasingly worried about the impacts of our changing climate, and we want to give them a platform and a voice to campaign on the issue and inspire others in their communities to take action too.
“Virgin Media O2 is already taking action to respond to the climate emergency by setting a goal to become net zero in our operations by the end of 2025, and we’re committed to helping our customers live more sustainable lives through technology and innovation.”
Ben Margolis, Interim Director from The Climate Coalition, said: “Young people have the most to lose from the impacts of climate change. We are delighted that this support is enabling more inspiring young people to come together and unite in the urgent fight against climate change.
“Great Big Green Week takes place in the run-up to COP26, the international climate summit hosted in Glasgow in November. The week’s activities will demonstrate that people from all walks of life across the UK care about climate change and want to see politicians take action at COP 26 to limit its worst effects.”
These are the latest grants from the Virgin Media O2 Together Fund. Earlier in the summer, the company provided funding to hundreds of charities and community groups across the UK to hold events and activities to bring people together to mark the national ‘Thank You Day’.
A summary of the climate projects taking place across the country
‘Finding Leicester’s Greta’ – Leicester
‘Finding Leicester’s Greta’ is being organised by young climate leader, Freya Gardner, who is an apprentice at Leicester City in the Community.
Primary school children will take part in a series of activities including litter picking, building ‘bug stadiums’, and will learn about climate activist, Greta Thunberg.
‘Climate Craic’ – Belfast
Jacinta Hamley, who is aged 24, has received funding for ‘Climate Craic’ – a free climate festival in Belfast.
The festival is being held in the grounds of Stormont Estate and will be a celebration of climate action with creative acts, performers and musicians.
‘Climate Crisis mural’ – Belfast
Rosalind Skillen, who is aged 23, and Friends of the Earth are using the funding to create a mural which highlights the climate crisis. Young people will be invited to take part in the visualisation and planning of the mural, with the hope that it will act as a platform to launch additional campaigns that raise awareness and engage communities in climate action.
‘Foodwave Surge’ – Manchester
Groundwork Greater Manchester’s ‘Foodwave Surge’ project is being led by young climate activists. It will offer students homecooked, ethically sourced food during Freshers’ Week (which is also being held at the same time as Great Big Green Week) and recipe books to encourage them to prepare and eat more sustainable meals.
‘Big Green Future’ – Birmingham
As part of ‘Big Green Future’, Northfield Arts Forum, will ask young people aged between 5 to 25 to create climate-themed art, poetry or performance which will be shared as part of a week-long climate festival.
‘B10 Urban Farm’ – Birmingham
Kashmiri Arts & Heritage Foundation, in partnership with Victoria Park Productions, is running the ‘B10 Urban Farm’ where children aged between 11 and 16 can grow vegetables at home and redistribute excess produce to those in need in their community. The project aims to educate young people about where food is grown and how they can reduce their carbon footprint.
‘We are Energy Warriors’ – Swansea and Pembrokeshire.
Community energy charity, Awel Aman Tawe, is running the ‘We are Energy Warriors’ project for schoolchildren across Swansea and Pembrokeshire.
The charity will work with 200 pupils, aged 8 to 14, to run campaigns which highlight climate change, and raise awareness of energy reduction and consumption in their school. Students will take action to encourage their community to live more sustainably, too.
‘Natural Kingdom: Wild Walls’ – Glasgow
Community group, UK Youth for Nature, has commissioned a mural in Glasgow which will highlight the decline of species and habitats. The mural – located in Glasgow Botanic Gardens – will help engage young people in the city about the vital role of nature and wildlife, and the need to tackle climate change in the run up to COP26 which is being held in the city in November.
‘Pip and Pearl Planet Protectors – Reading
After receiving funding from Virgin Media O2, The Reading Fringe Festival is running a free event for families called ‘Pip and Peal Planet Protectors’.
As part of the event, families will be asked to complete tasks so they can become ‘Planet Protectors’, while learning what they can do to care for the planet, nature and wildlife.
Young Peoples’ Climate Assembly – Winchester
Winchester Action on Climate Change, in partnership with University of Winchester Institute for Climate and Social Justice, is hosting a ‘Climate Assembly’ for young people where they are invited to take part in conversations around how to build a vision for a net zero carbon future.
‘Letters from the Future’ – Buckinghamshire
Tamarack Media Cooperative is running ‘Letters from the Future’ – a series of digital workshops for schoolchildren in Buckinghamshire to explore the climate crisis and the steps they can take to address it.
As part of the project, young people will express their hopes and fears for the planet in 2050 which will be turned into animated videos and shared while COP26 is being held.
‘Eco Roadshow’ – Tottenham
Eco Tottenham Collective is running a series of ‘Eco Roadshows’ for young people across Haringey focusing on ecology and nature, helping to raise awareness of climate change, sustainable living, recycling, biodiversity and food growing.
About Big Green Week:
Great Big Green Week is being organised by The Climate Coalition, the UK’s largest group of people dedicated to action against climate change, whose members include more than 100 organisations, including the National Trust, WWF, Women’s Institute, RSPB, Christian Aid and Islamic Relief.
Great Big Green Week will create a focal point for climate activities ahead of the UN Climate Summit COP26 in Glasgow (1 to 12 November), bringing people together to celebrate the big and small actions people are taking in the fight against climate change.