National Lottery invests £33m in next generation of environmental leaders

Young people across the country will have the opportunity to "unleash their ambition" and develop skills and knowledge to improve their local environments through a new £33m programme from the Big Lottery Fund.

The National Lottery’s investment will provide more than 30 youth-led organisations with £1m each to nurture the next generation of green pioneers and tackle big societal challenges such as a lack of social cohesion, a lack of opportunities for young people and climate change vulnerability.

The National Lottery’s Our Bright Future programme, run by eight environmental organisations and led by The Wildlife Trusts, will also establish a range of environmental projects – from reducing marine pollution to minimising food waste.

The programme aims to enable 50,000 young people to develop the confidence and resilience to become environmental leaders and influence decisions at local and national levels.

Big Lottery Fund UK chair Peter Ainsworth said: “Our Bright Future is designed to unleash the ambition of young people across the UK to make a personal and collective contribution to making our environment brighter, happier and more resilient to threats like climate change and the waste of natural resources.

“This initiative over the next seven years aims to join up the social, economic and environmental benefits that will come from enabling young people to shape their own future and others that follow them.”

Generation S

The Wildlife Trusts chief executive Stephanie Hilborne added:  “Our Bright Future is an innovative movement for change. It is brilliant that The Big Lottery Fund has recognised that societal and environmental challenges are two sides of the same coin. “We want to see a generation of courageous and wise leaders empowered to change our world for the better.”

At the start of the year, a survey from the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment revealed that firms accused of ‘unethical’ practices such as poor environmental performance are missing out on more than half of ‘Generation S’ candidates, the new generation of sustainability professionals.

In December 2014, IEMA stated that the unsustainable global economy can only be mitigated by businesses and Government action to fill the sustainability skills gap. The cautionary message followed an IEMA survey which found that a mere 13% of businesses are confident they have the skills to successfully compete in a modern sustainable economy.

George Ogleby

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