04 JUNE 2024

Guest Blog: Helping young people respond to the climate and nature crisis

Tom Hague, Development Lead, Green Schools Project

Greener Futures is one of many investments Grosvenor Property UK makes in local communities every year. It focuses on improving lives by helping communities take climate action and creating access to training and jobs in the green economy.  

The programme supports health, wellbeing, employability and more. It’s part of our ambition to create places that are better for people and planet. 

It also brings opportunities to collaborate with others who are on a similar mission.

Meet Tom, Development Director at Green Schools Project

Grosvenor’s support is helping young people learn and respond to the climate and nature crisis, in a way they might otherwise never have experienced.

Many young people are anxious about climate change and environmental degradation. Surveys indicate that as many as 80% of them feel a kind of eco-anxiety. There’s also a large number of teachers who want climate change to be discussed and taught in schools but don't have the confidence or knowledge to do so.

At Green Schools Project we’re working to help students and schools turn this sense of worry and uncertainty around, transforming the way they respond to the climate and nature crisis and leading projects to reduce their school's carbon footprint. This positive and tangible action is a real antidote to feelings of powerlessness. 

And we couldn’t do this without Grosvenor. Through its Greener Futures fund, the business is making it possible for us to deliver our 26 session programme in-person at St Mary’s and St Vincent’s primary schools in Westminster. 

It’s the first time these schools have been able to do anything climate related. There would be no way we could support them in-person without Grosvenor’s support.

It’s given us a really great chance to get to know the students, teachers and leadership teams, and help them in providing the climate education and steps towards sustainability they want to take. 

The programme is broken into stages. The first one is Explore, where students learn about the science and context of climate change. Then there's Investigate where they uncover where their school’s emissions come from. 

In the next stage, Act, they design and lead their own projects to reduce their school’s carbon footprint. 

At St Mary's, the students have decided to focus on organising a 'switch off' week to see how far they can reduce energy usage at school. And at St Vincent's, they’ve decided to zero in on emissions from food. 

The final stage is Inspire, where the students share their learnings. Not only will the young people’s projects feature on their schools’ websites and newsletters, both sets of pupils are planning to write to their MP and local Councillors too. 

By the end, the students will have improved their awareness on environmental issues, and so will people in the wider school community and local area – everyone from parents and carers, to siblings.

It’s great to see that journey first hand. That change from a school not really being able to do anything related to climate education to suddenly it being a key part of school and family life. 

Grosvenor’s support has also contributed to some really positive ripple effects – for example, in one school’s OFSTED report, the work was mentioned as an Outstanding feature. Plus, we get to work with really supportive Grosvenor people like their Community Outreach Manager, Merlene Austin. 

Although Grosvenor is a very large organisation, they’re able to have a direct relationship with us. Creating bonds and building networks is part of their DNA. 

They even put us in touch with their partner Groundwork who is going to be carrying out projects to improve St Mary’s and St Vincent’s outdoor spaces as part of Grosvenor's Big Help Out all company volunteering day. This has only been made possible through the links created through the programme.

Because Grosvenor is a connector of people and organisations working in a similar space, the impact is really catalytic. 

Group 2