Young People gather to discuss sustainability at Youth Council event

NewsUpdated: 8 December 2023Education and Learning

Politically minded young people from 20 schools across Three Rivers gathered to discuss the work they have done and the ideas they have towards living more sustainably.

The Three Rivers Youth Council met in the main council chamber of Three Rivers District Council on 23 November. Forty pupils attended the event, both remotely and in person, to take part in activities, discussions, and listen to presentations on the topic of sustainability.

The event began with a team building exercise with the district council’s senior play ranger, Lee Bennion, highlighting the necessity of teamwork in creating difference within our district. Following this, Duncan Roberts, head teacher at Little Green Junior School and the Youth Council school lead, spoke about the topic and the idea of creating a shared action plan towards a more sustainable future. The youth councillors then heard from Rosi Jordan, director of Sustainable Three Rivers, who spoke about the community gardens the organisation built and explained the impact that sustainability work from local communities has.

Two children from each school, who are members of their school councils, attended the event. Students from Rickmansworth School and Yorke Mead School got the opportunity to present their sustainability successes as a school. Charlotte Gomes, Landscapes and Leisure Development Manager, introduced the concept of Eco-Schools and the Green Flag accreditation schools can achieve in order to acknowledge and celebrate the ecological achievements of young people. The students from Rickmansworth School shared how they achieved their second Green Flag and the students at Yorke Mead described their projects, such as pre-loved uniform sales and keeping wormeries, that will hopefully lead to their Green Flag accreditation.

Bethany Barrett, Play Development Officer, said: “Events like this where young people can meet and collaborate with each other are essential for the future of sustainable development. It's inspiring to see such a diverse and passionate group of young minds coming together to tackle environmental challenges and shape a greener future.”

Towards the end of the event there was a group discussion, where the youth councillors were split into four groups and paired with an officer from Three Rivers District Council. They spoke about Biodiversity with Jess Hodges, Community Biodiversity Officer; Waste and Litter with Elen Dolder, Climate Change, Sustainability and Recycling Officer; Healthy Living and Global Citizenship with Jay Williams, Community and Engagements Officer; and Energy with Tom Rankin, Net Zero Project Support Officer.

The event closed with a Q&A with councillors who are part of the Youth Champion scheme.

The schools that participated are:

Yorke Mead, Arnett Hills, Eastbury Farm, Little Green, Malvern Way, Christ Church Chorleywood, Chorleywood Primary, St Peter’s, Russell, Shepherds, Maple Cross, Harvey Road, Ricky Park, Rickmansworth School, Oxhey Wood, Warren Dell, Croxley Danes, The Reach Free, York House School and Charlotte House Prep