Bright Green Future is one of thirty-one UK-wide projects which form the Our Bright Future (OBF) programme; an ambitious and innovative partnership led by The Wildlife Trusts which brings together the youth and environmental sectors. Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and formed of 31 project (BGF being one of them), OBF aims to help young people aged 11-24 gain vital skills and experience and improve their wellbeing.
Each year OBF hosts an Annual Seminar where all 31 projects come together, share ideas and strategise on how to further support and promote the youth voice. This year the seminar was held in Belfast and mentors Roy, Ellie and Charlie went along to represent BGF; travelling by hybrid car and ferry. We spent most of the first day of the two-day seminar learning about the amazing work the OBF programme has done so far....
Our Bright Future has engaged with over 85,000 young people so far
Now it wouldn't be an environmental seminar without an outdoor excursion so next we were whisked away into the Belfast Hills for a fantastic outdoor session led by Ulster Wildlife Trusts, including outdoor Olympics, wildlife ID and monitoring and homemade pencils! BGF programme manager and mentor Roy was very happy with his handy work...
Now the evening saw us get a bit competitive as we all took part in a quiz - not to brag but mentors Ellie and Charlie found themselves in the winning team, scoring some yummy vegan chocolate and countless ideas for the summer school 2019 quiz!
On day two we got to hear from some of the young people themselves, including OBF Youth Forum member, Laurence, speaking about his experience at Shropshire Wildlife Trust. Hopefully at next year's OBF seminar we will have some BGF-ers sharing their experience of the Bright Green Future programme.
After hearing from Gary Hart of Parliamentary Outreach about effective campaigning it was time for our workshop session - "creating a more sustainable workplace"
We thoroughly enjoyed hosting the session and were impressed by some of the resulting pledges:
Mentor Ellie has put together some takeaway thoughts from our few days away:
It was really useful to meet some of the project leads and talk about how to keep in touch with young participants once they finish the programme and progress into their careers - these conversations have played a big part in the development of the BGF Alumni Network.
I especially enjoyed getting to know people from Bristol based projects who perhaps we can work with in the future.
It was great to meet the young steering group members and youth forum members who are part of individual projects as well as helping to shape OBF as a whole. There are a huge variety of projects and a real community around them. We’re hoping we can find some BGFers to get involved in the youth forum and steering group next year!
Our session on sustainable workplaces was great- people were full of ideas. It did highlight to me though, that the obvious ways to be sustainable like opting to cycle rather than drive are the ones people jump to first. Although we all know the best ways to travel, most people had come to the event by plane! There are lots of other themes we tend to miss which might be more achievable. Sustainability encompasses everything from energy, food and travel to well-being, waste and communications.
You can see more photos from our time away in our Instagram highlight - OBF Seminar.