Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has received funding to support the employment of a 'Green Mentor' who will enable young people to lead the way as ‘Green Influencers’ on social action projects in their communities.
The pioneering Green Influencers Scheme is a project match-funded through the #iwill Fund which is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and Department of Culture, Media & Sport which are each investing £25million seed funding to support young people to access high-quality social action opportunities.
Green Influencers aged from 10 to 14-years-old will spring up across Derbyshire after Derbyshire Wildlife Trust was among 36 host organisations awarded grants to support the employment of 40 Green Mentor posts.
Together they will turn words into action with a wide range of measures to protect and enhance the local environment and tackle climate change.
Diane Gould who has taken on the role of Green Mentor for Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, said:
"We were delighted to receive the funding from The Ernest Cook Trust which will enable us to help young people from across the region to support their communities with environmental projects.
"We're pleased to be a host organisation for the Green Influencers Scheme which is being rolled out across England and we’re excited about the future because we know this will make a real difference to our communities.
“What is really special about Green Influencers’ Scheme is that we believe it will provide young people with the chance to learn through hands-on outdoor activities and to increase their confidence as well as their physical and mental well-being.
“We hope that not only will those involved be encouraged to take part in environmental projects but that they themselves will then go on to inspire other young people to take action as well. In doing so they can have a really positive impact on their communities.”
Over the next two years, under the Green Influencers Scheme, The Ernest Cook Trust will pay Derbyshire Wildlife Trust £18,000 annually to fund the Green Mentor post to kick-start the programme with further financial support to ensure they instigate lasting change right across their communities.
The young environmental activists will be at the forefront of youth social action projects that will benefit schools and communities across England after The Ernest Cook Trust awarded grants worth a total of £720,000 to host organisations.
Dr Victoria Edwards OBE, Chief Executive of The Ernest Cook Trust, said:
“Inspired by teenagers like Greta Thunberg, young people across England have been leading the climate change and wildlife crisis debate.
“The Ernest Cook Trust’s new funding programme will empower young people in Derbyshire to follow in Greta’s footsteps and positively engage in environmental social action projects.
“The pandemic has a huge impact on the communities the Trust supports but by campaigning, fundraising and volunteering, the Green Influencers will create long-lasting benefits for everyone.”
The scheme is being rolled out nationwide following successful pilot schemes at Action for Conservation in London, East Riding Voluntary Action Services in Hull , Groundwork Greater Manchester, Groundwork Northamptonshire and Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.
The initiative also gives participants a valuable opportunity to develop leadership skills. Nine people aged 14 to 20 are members of the Scheme’s Youth Advisory Board. They have steered strategic decision-making and will help select grant awards for Green Influencers projects.
Anyone interested in joining the Green Influencers Scheme should visit: https://www.derbyshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/green-influencers