Wandsworth students’ plan to create climate change gardens wins eco-award

Published: Thursday, November 11, 2021

Students in Wandsworth have won a £10,000 cash prize that will be used to create climate change gardens and help improve air quality at two sites in Tooting and Wandsworth.

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Pupils attending the Francis Barber referral unit were awarded the money after being named as one of only five winning entries from schools and colleges across the capital in the Mayor’s Climate Kick Start competition, supported by Bloomberg.

The initiative is designed to help secondary schools pioneer eco-projects that engage young Londoners in climate action and raise awareness of environmental issues.

The Francis Barber students will now create the green spaces at their two sites to help boost air quality, provide welcoming natural spaces and also to create a vegetable garden as part of the school’s independent living and creative curriculum.

Some of the cash will also be used to develop a bike maintenance and repair programme to support sustainable transport.

Headteacher Jackie Addison said: “I am absolutely thrilled and delighted that our school has been chosen as one of only five winners of this high-profile London-wide competition and I’m so proud of our pupils for having drawn up and developed such exciting and inspirational plans. They should all be really proud of themselves too.”

The competition winners were announced at a star-studded ceremony at the Barbican, hosted by the Mayor and TV presenter, Paralympian and climate activist, Ade Adepitan MBE.

The prizes were presented by celebrity climate ambassadors, including BBC Radio 1’s Vick Hope, Olympic BMX champion Beth Schriever, BAFTA winning TV presenter Mehreen Baig and ‘The White Queen’ and ‘Victoria’ actor David Oakes.

Ade Adepitan said: “I’ve seen the devastating impact of climate change happening all over the world right now, but I’ve also felt the impacts right here in London – from air pollution to flooding and overheating. Now’s the time to do our bit. I’m delighted to have been able to reward the young people and schools taking action to tackle these environmental issues first-hand, and I hope they are an inspiration for all Londoners to get involved.”

The announcement of the prize winners comes in the same week that people from across Wandsworth have been taking part in a series of events designed to raise awareness of climate change and explore ways of reducing the borough’s carbon emissions. For more information about Wandsworth’s ‘Together on Climate Change Festival 2021’ visit the council’s website.