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  • Writer's pictureKatherine Crisp

The North-East leads the way

Last week the Council Chambers at Northumberland County Council buzzed with energy as 34 Year 7 students from 3 schools in the county presented their local climate action ideas in the first ever Regional Dragon’s Den style pitching event for the Young Green Briton Challenge.

Students in each school had already participated earlier this year in lessons and design workshops to explore local environmental issues and to start to develop solutions to those issues with seed funding provided by Northumberland County Council and mentorship support from their teachers and volunteer mentors from local firms.

A panel of four dragons heard students' ideas addressing fast fashion, biodiversity and habitat loss, renewable energy generation and energy wastage. Teams impressed the dragons with their confidence, presentation skills, research and creativity. 

The dragons had the tough job of picking one team from each school to go forward to the national finals in London in July. After some close scores and tough deliberation three teams were selected. Huge congratulations to:

The Fashion Frogs from Corbridge Middle School. With the help of their mascot Frederick, they have set up a uniform recycling project in their school to tackle both wastage and the high costs involved in buying school uniform. The dragons praised the simplicity of their idea, along with the progress they had already made. 

The Fast Fashionistas from St Joseph’s Middle School. Through a highly engaging role play, the Fast Fashionistas introduced the dragons to their prototype clothes recycling bin - Munch (Making Unused Neglected Clothes Helpful). They will collect footwear, clothing and accessories and then host swap shops and sell other clothing on Vinted. 

Let the Flowers ‘Bee’gin from Hexham Middle School. They are planning to start a competition to increase biodiversity with a particular focus on bees. They will invest their funding into seeds for the top 5 fast growing bee friendly flowers, distributing them to other schools and seeking to partner with garden centres. 

The event showcased lots of brilliant ideas for tackling pressing environmental challenges including:

  • Make Wool Cool, who want to change attitudes towards local, natural fibres and have already taught themselves how to knit.

  • The Oompaloompas who want to educate fellow students about the negative impacts of fast fashion.

  • The Climate Clan who want to address biodiversity loss through their recycled bird boxes, which will contain bird feed and fun, engaging bird related activities.

  • The Pipe Spinners who have ambitious and innovative plans to use kinetic energy from water pipes to charge electronic devices.

  • The MPGs who shared their impressive prototypes of water, wind and solar charging devices for mobile phones, with the solar device showing the greatest promise - as long as you are charging during the day, of course!

  • Versa fashion who are addressing fast fashion through developing their own brand of second hand clothes with a website, voucher system to incentivise donations and paper packaging. 

It was brilliant to meet so many green changemakers and future eco entrepreneurs and we can’t wait to see how all nine teams progress!

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