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Young people are active participants in environmental change!

At the beginning of 2023, the Action for Conservation team in the South West had the privilege of working with a small and wonderful group of young people from Off the Record, a mental health charity based in the South West, as part of the Green Influencers Scheme.

In collaboration with Off the Record, the weekly sessions explored environmental issues and solutions, nature connection, activism and urban greenspaces. The group was incredibly passionate about access to and benefits of urban gardens and growing spaces. They turned this passion into action and created an incredible youth social action project in a disused courtyard at The Station in central Bristol, home to Creative Youth Network.

Four young people and staff member Holly look at a goat

This #PowerOfYouthDay we want to share and celebrate this project! Read on to hear from the amazing Green Influencers who led the project!

🌿What is your project and what have you done?

“[We have] been filling an area with plant pots and loads of plants to make it look a lot nicer, happier, and a lot more environmentally friendly. [It has] been really cool taking part in things like woodworking, making our own beehouses, and learning loads about nature.”

“Our project aimed to transform a small urban area into a sensory garden, to act as a mental soother and as a starting point to inspire industrial greenspace integration, even if it's small!”

🌿Why is your project important to you, nature and local communities?

“This project made me feel like an active participant in environmental change! From increased awareness and the insight of my knowledgeable peers to practical experience, this has been a wonderful experience that allowed me to explore the city holistically! As well as apply the knowledge that was once only confined to the classroom to the real world!”

“[This project is] important to me as I love nature and it’s a major part of who I am. It has allowed me to feel more connected with nature and the environment around me. Also, I think it’s very important as it makes people care and realise how they can help and make a difference, as our planet is just so special.”

🌿Why are you part of the project?

“I'm part of the project because I wanted to learn more about conservation; have a closer relationship with nature and my local environment, and help my anxiety.”

🌿What have you enjoyed or felt proud of?

“[I] really enjoyed meeting loads of brilliant people who have now become great friends. These sessions helped me go from a super shy and anxious person who would have never even dreamed of going to a group with a bunch of people I didn't know, to an absolute chatterbox and making loads of friends. It’s helped me grow loads as a person, gain loads of confidence and helped me learn new skills like woodworking and how to use a drill - it’s been the best highlights of my week each week!”

We are so proud and privileged to work with such incredible young people and can’t wait to see what else they get up to! We hope that this can inspire you to join the youth movement for nature and community, whether it’s where you live, nationally or globally!

This blog was created by AFC's Holly Chantrill-Cheyette in collaboration with the Off the Record Green Influencer Group.

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