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Young minds spark bright ideas for tackling climate change

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30 students aged from 7 to 14 attended a climate conference at Portsmouth College to come up with ideas on how to tackle climate change.

The students, from The Portsmouth Academy, Meon Junior School and Newbridge Junior School, all volunteered to attend the event because they want to make a difference, to their schools and their city.

The event was organised by the Thinking Schools Academy Trust and Unloc, and aims to give young people the skills, confidence and know-how to set up a project to help tackle climate change.

As part of their day they heard from local people dedicated to taking action against climate change - including Cllr Dave Ashmore, Portsmouth City Council's Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, founder of Plastic Free Portsmouth and Portsmouth Repair Café Clare Seek and former Portsmouth Academy student, Amy Brazier.

Cllr Dave Ashmore said: "What a privilege to be invited along to this conference. It's so important to make sure we listen to young people when it comes to environmental issues, as it’s something we need to get right for them - and the generations to come. Events like this really bring home that we all have the potential to make a difference, and I'm excited to see what this group does next."

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The theme of the conference was inspired by a letter sent by Cllr Ashmore to local schools at the end of 2019, inviting them to share ideas about how the city could come together to reach the council's ambitious target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

Natalie Sheppard, Director of Education at Thinking Schools Academy Trust Portsmouth said: "I am delighted to bring together children from our family of schools. They are using their thinking tools as a means of making a difference to the city they are growing up in. It is so important that school feels relevant. I can't wait to see how their projects develop and would like to thank Unloc for their coordination of the project as we create the changemakers of the future."

This event is the starting point for the project. Students will share ideas and agree what to focus on at this session, then will take their projects back to their own schools. A follow up event is planned for the summer, where the project will be launched - so watch this space!

Working with young people is just one way that Portsmouth City Council is bringing people together to tackle climate change. It recently announced its greenest budget ever, is looking into the possibility of building a food waste recycling plant and is supporting the Portsmouth Climate Action Board.

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