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Celebrating Youth Voice on International Youth Day
Our Bright Future’s third Policy Ask is for ‘young people to be heard and play an active role in society’ so we’re celebrating International Youth Day 2021 by highlighting some changes made by partners and projects to increase youth voice.
Having young people involved in an organisation’s decision-making processes can have a positive effect: young people bring in new ideas, have different priorities and offer a different perspective.
As a direct result of being involved in Our Bright Future, eleven organisations now have youth forums, youth councils, young steering groups members or young board members.
Young people have been in staff interview processes in at least four different organisations – including the recruitment of The Wildlife Trusts’ and Friends of the Earth’s Chief Executives.
As a result of the work with Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority now has two positions on its National Park Management Steering group for young people.
And it doesn’t stop there! At least four organisations within the Our Bright Future portfolio are currently planning to make changes to increase their youth voice and we expect this number to keep growing.
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Youth advocate becomes One step Greener ambassador!
17 year old Emer a member of Our Bright Future and Ulster Wildlife’s young advocates’ group has now become a One Step Greener ambassador for COP26 and will come together with world leaders to agree urgent action to tackle climate change. Emer will be inspiring others to take greener steps and encourage them to contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle. You can read Emer’s blog here and find out more about #OneStepGreener here.
Our Bright Future annual seminar 2021
The final Our Bright Future Annual Seminar took place on 23 and 24 June 2021 and what a great two days it was! Informative and inspiring but tinged with sadness that this was the last event. With the Our Bright Future programme heading rapidly towards conclusion, the final seminar focused on legacy, impact and sustainability by hearing from the enthusiastic young steering group representatives about the amazing things Our Bright Future has achieved over the last 12 months. This was followed by a motivating exploration of how projects and organisations could support and embed the three policy asks. Members of the Youth Forum then highlighted how being involved in Our Bright Future had made a difference to them before we concluded day one by learning about the new, exciting Our Bright Future brand ambassador campaign and how to get involved. Day two kicked off with an interactive evaluation session capturing lessons learned followed by celebrating project impacts. To round off the event we covered legacy and sustainability with several projects highlighting how Our Bright Future had influenced change in organisational practice.
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Social media campaign aimed to increase time spent learning in and about nature
Recently our Youth Advocates in Northern Ireland ran a social media campaign called Learn More Outdoors, linking to Our Bright Future’s Ask 1.
The aim of the campaign was to encourage teachers to take their lessons outside of the traditional classroom and to spend more time learning in and about nature, especially as students return to school post-pandemic.
As part of the campaign, six videos were produced covering the benefits of outdoor learning, overcoming barriers, and tips for outdoor learning activities across a range of subjects. These were shared through social media together with a series of opinion and informative posts from the young people involved. The videos can be found on our Ask 1 page.
Following the campaign, the young people were given the opportunity to meet with the Northern Ireland Minister for Education, Peter Weir. The meeting was extremely positive, discussing in depth the importance and positive impact of outdoor learning for school-age students and looking at the flexibility of the Northern Ireland curriculum and the opportunities this makes possible.
The young people were also given the opportunity to share guidance on outdoor learning via the Education Authority website.  As schools enter the Summer term it is the perfect time to continue to promote outdoor opportunities to teachers.
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Environmental Careers:
Young People’s Q&A – recording and resources
2020 was a year of challenges, of changes to how so many of us work and study, and, frequently, of cancelled events. As we all felt the effects of lockdown, it also became clearer than ever that young people’s journeys to employment are often difficult, particularly when looking for opportunities in the environmental sector. For all these reasons, it was a real pleasure for Our Bright Future to be able to round off the year with an exciting event all about careers in the environment, conservation, and sustainability sectors. Organised in collaboration with RSPB, Groundwork UK, and the National Youth Agency, ‘Environmental Careers: Young People’s Q&A’ featured a panel of young professionals, top tips from career experts, and a spotlight on the National Nature Service initiative.
A recording of the event is available to watch on our YouTube channel, and you can also find links to various resources and opportunities mentioned during the session in the post-event handout.
 
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Our Bright Future
Involving young people in governance
Did you know that 18-24 year olds make up less than 0.5% of all charity Trustees, and the average age of a Trustee in England and Wales is 59 years old? Despite efforts being made, the charity sector still has a long way to go! There is clearly appetite for the role, with a survey of under 35 year olds reporting that 85% would consider becoming a Trustee. Read the full article in CJS Focus here (three quarters of the way down).
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New report shows how nature nurtures children
The Wildlife Trusts commissioned a study by the Institute of Education at UCL to evaluate the impact that experiencing nature has upon children. Overall, the research revealed that children’s wellbeing increased after they had spent time connecting with nature: the children showed an increase in their personal wellbeing and health over time, and they showed an increase in nature connection and demonstrated high levels of enjoyment. Read more here.
Belfast Hills Partnership
One of the UK’s largest youth-led environmental programmes is calling young people to take part in Outdoor Classroom Day this Thursday
Our Bright Future, a partnership of 31 projects across the UK, is calling young people to spend an hour of their school day outdoors, this Thursday, in order to improve wellbeing and engage with nature. Read the full article here.
Our Bright Future
The greatest environmental youth movement you’ve never heard of
Behind Greta Thunberg’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. Read the full article here.
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Our Bright Future featured in Time Out London: 3 September 2019 issue
Following the recent launch of The National Lottery Climate Action Fund, Time Out London has published an article about Our Bright Future Youth Forum member; Ummi Hoque. She did a speech at the launch event about her involvement in the Our Bright Future project; My World My Home and inspired us all! If you’re in London today (3 September) do pick up a copy from stations in Zone 1 and 2 and turn to page 14. Alternatively, you can have a read here.