The Green Influencers Scheme is coming to an end in July after three years. The Scheme is a match funded project between educational charity The Ernest Cook Trust and the #iwill Fund.
The #iwill Fund is made possible thanks to £66 million joint investment from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to support young people to access high quality social action opportunities. The Ernest Cook Trust is acting as a match funder and awarding grants on behalf of the #iwill Fund.
The Scheme enabled youth organisation Woodcraft Folk’s Green Mentor, Elaine, to work with over 200 young people aged 8-16 from many different backgrounds to engage in youth action for the first time, in 12 different projects in Leeds and Bradford.
Woodcraft Folk were able to secure Grants of around £5,000 from The Ernest Cook Trust, which funded four of their Green Influencers Projects. The grants were vetted by the Scheme’s Youth Advisory Board, a group of driven and passionate 14 to 20-year-olds who recommend applications for funding to The Ernest Cook Trust’s Board of Trustees.
These grants have and will continue to make real and lasting impacts on the communities and lives of young people.
Projects funded through the Scheme include a new garden for Co-op Academy Nightingale in Harehills, Leeds which allowed all the students at the school access to a safe outdoor space that was previously grass growing on top of an old tip. It is now blooming with apple blossom and lots of different mint plants are growing for the children to make mint tea which is traditional in the cultures of many of the students so they have been taking some home to celebrate their hard work with their families over a cup of tea. They are also now part of the RHS (Royal Horticultural society) scheme and are working towards their awards and extra funding.
The Peace Garden Project was actioned to make a new community garden outside a mosque sports centre also in Harehills with a cross cultural youth group which are part of Leeds Muslim Youth Forum. The young people turned a derelict car park into a safe outdoor space for people to relax and enjoy wildlife. It engaged young people from across an often divided community and gave them new skills in construction and gardening. The space has gone on to be used as a local event space to develop a mural and host a community cafe, bbqs and to display a knife bin to try to reduce local violence.
At Co-op Academy Beckfield in Bradford, Elaine ran science week activities chosen by the school’s Green Influencers group for 80 pupils on migration, birds, sustainability and food. They made bird boxes, bird feeders, installed a wormery and created a new sensory garden in an unused concrete area and planted fruit trees all round their school.
At Richmond Hill Academy, the Green Influencers planted an edible growing wall to enable school parents to pick herbs while picking up their children, they planted several 7-foot apple trees, and they are part way through installing a wind turbine to their outdoor classroom and will build new raised beds to grow their own vegetables.
The Ernest Cook Trust’s Chief Executive, Dr Victoria Edwards OBE, said: “The Green Influencers Scheme is having a big impact across the country and the additional grants of around £5,000 for specific projects are helping to underpin the excellent work being done by our Green Mentors and the Green Influencers. These young people really are making a difference in their communities.”
The Ernest Cook Trust is one of the UK’s foremost funders and providers of outdoor learning. It runs outdoor learning opportunities for children, young people, their families and communities on its own land as well as with partner estates. Every year, it also gives out thousands of pounds in grants, to further outdoor learning.
For information about the Green Influencers Scheme visit The Ernest Cook Trust at https://ernestcooktrust.org.uk/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.Woodcraft Folk are pleased to announce that Elaine is also staying on with the charity as a Project Officer to continue to provide free environmental youth social action projects to schools in Leeds and as part of free school meal provision over the summer holiday. If you would like to know more get in touch with her at email@example.com.