Climate Voices was our core programme from 2015-2021 to inspire and enable secondary school students across the UK to think critically about climate change, to have a say in their own sustainable futures, and to lead climate action in schools.
Inspiring climate action
The Climate Voices programme (2015-2021) enabled more young people across the UK, particularly from schools with higher levels of disadvantage, to have a clear route to engagement in climate action and a recognised voice in their own sustainable futures.
Core to the programme were:
- Climate conferences using UN-style negotiations to deepen understanding of global experiences of climate change, climate justice and of the challenges of change on this scale.
- Local action workshops, summits and national events to encourage and inspire school-based initiatives led by young people, as well as to provide opportunities for their voices to be heard.
We expanded the reach of the programme from 2018 to enable secondary schools in Reading, Bristol, Gloucestershire, Solihull, West London and Liverpool to participate in our flagship climate conferences as hubs for local action. In 2021, we rolled out a ‘COP26 in the Classroom’ resource and the Climate Action Toolkit to enable young people across the UK to make their voices heard in the run-up to the COP26 climate conference due to be hosted in Glasglow in November 2021.
Climate Voices was made possible from its inception through the support of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, in addition to the support of other national and local funders. Match-funding was secured through pro-bono and volunteer efforts, raising £166,840 over 3 years, with a success rate of over 50%, including JRCT support.
The Climate Voices programme has inspired young people from all over the UK to become advocates and leaders on climate change. From 2018-2021:
Over 7,500 young people from 184 secondary schools in the UK participated in climate conferences and other initiatives. 90% of students we surveyed after conferences felt their views were listened to.
- Explore our 2021 Conferences evaluation
Advocacy and action
83% of young people surveyed after events said that as a result of taking part, they now want to influence friends and family. Through our programme, over 1,200 young people have developed concrete plans for action and met with experts and decision-makers.
Over 140 young people from 20 schools have shown leadership after participating in our programme, from participating in local government climate strategy to running for public office.
Over 49 of the 184 schools participating in our initiatives had above average rates of pupil premium allocations.
Watch an example of one of our climate conferences from 2019 in Hounslow:
Explore the impact of our flagship climate conferences in each of the main areas we worked in during the programme:
The phase of the project since 2018, Climate Voices II (CVII), followed on from the initial Climate Voices project (2015-2018). CVII was a three-year project (2018-2021) supported by a grant from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT). Additional funding and support-in-kind was also provided from a range of local and national supporters.
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