Four charities based in Birmingham and West Bromwich have been awarded new grants to develop programmes and initiatives to empower young people to take action on the climate emergency. The funds have been awarded as part of a new grants programme launched by the Energy Saving Trust Foundation with support from Airbnb.
A pilot round of grant funding was open to applications from charities across the West Midlands and the Foundation is now pleased to announce that four charities will be receiving two-year grants of up to £40,000 to continue and expand their important work.
Following this successful pilot round, applications will open for organisations in other parts of the UK later this year.
Commenting on the announcement, Jim Metcalfe, chair of the Energy Saving Trust Foundation’s board of trustees, said:
“The West Midlands is one of the youngest and most diverse regions of the UK and we are excited to be working with these charities to help them to engage local young people in climate action.
“These grants will enable the funded organisations to scale up their existing programs, develop new initiatives and engage a wider audience of young people in their efforts.”
Arts charity Craftspace based in Birmingham will be using craftivism – the power of arts and crafting – to engage D/deaf and LGBTQ+ young people. Craftspace have experience of working with these two groups and understand the barriers to participation in social action that they can face.
Deirdre Buckley, Learning and Engagement Manager at Craftspace, said, “Craftspace is very excited to be working with the Energy Saving Trust Foundation on this programme. We know the value of coming together to make with your hands and through the lens of climate change and their identity we hope young people will feel enabled to effect a change in themselves and their communities.”
Local young artist Cara Standham said, “This programme will give our generation such a vital platform to voice change through craftivism, and I’m really excited to see the creative results.”
Handsworth Association of Schools based in Handsworth will work with up to 800 students to teach them about carbon reduction and how they can make practical changes in their schools to save carbon.
Students who have been involved in previous activities said, “The best thing is being able to speak to other young people who are interested in the environment,” and “It has been good to learn the different ways to spread the word. We can make a difference.”
Stephen Whitehead, a Green Mentor for students, said, “The work is about developing and supporting young people to recognise their own agency and to make a cultural shift to a sustainable life that they can see they share with others. The big part of the work is to build empathy, skills, resilience and significant behavioural change.”
Kingstanding Regeneration Trust based in Erdington will partner with the Birmingham & Black Country Wildlife Trust to provide practical training for young people looking to jumpstart their careers in the environment sector.
Anya Sanchez, Director of Kingstanding Regeneration Trust, said, “We’re excited the Energy Saving Trust Foundation has given us the opportunity to make a real difference to young people’s lives, improving their chances of employment, training and growth and closely linking young people with a life embedded in nature”.
DT, currently a trainee with the Trust, said, “I just want to get out there and work with someone who can show me how it’s done, so in the future I can work for myself and build my own business. That’s hard to find, I’m done with classrooms, I want to learn on the job. This opportunity sounds great to me.”
West Bromwich-based charity Multistorywill be working with local organisations in Sandwell to use creativity and the arts to get young people involved in climate activism.
Emma Chetcuti, Director of Multistory, said, “We are delighted to be partnering with the Energy Saving Trust Foundation and our community partners in Sandwell to deliver an innovative, creative programme called ‘Change is Coming’. We will be collaborating with young people living in Sandwell to engage them in creative activities and discussions around climate change and green issues by exploring the green spaces in their neighbourhoods”.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said:
“We want to tap into the tremendous well of talent that exists right across our region in order to surface solutions to tackle the climate emergency – all in support of maintaining our #WM2041 net zero commitment. “That’s why I welcomed the news that Airbnb and the Energy Saving Trust Foundation had launched this fund in the West Midlands. “So it’s great to see sustainability leaders – including young people – in our region getting the support they need to make a positive impact. It’s vital that we work together – with local people from a wide range of backgrounds – to make a difference in the months and years ahead.”
Amanda Cupples, General Manager for Northern Europe at Airbnb, said:
“Airbnb is committed to helping Hosts and the communities they call home become more sustainable. These organisations in the West Midlands are doing incredible work inspiring young people and equipping them with the tools they need to build a greener future for their community. The breadth and variety of the projects are representative of the diversity and passion of the West Midlands, and we are confident they will inspire the region’s next generation of climate leaders.”
This pilot round of grant funding is part of a longer term partnership between the Foundation and Airbnb, which has seen the company donate a total of £500,000 towards the grants being made by the Foundation this year.
More information about the Foundation can be found here.