University of Bristol: ‘Groundbreakers’ Awards presented to young Bristol climate and social justice heroes

The ‘Groundbreakers’ Awards, held on Thursday 30 June at the Bristol Beacon, were organised by the Global Goals Centre, with support from the University of Bristol.

Eight impressive project ideas from young people aged 7 to 25 who live in the Bristol area were rewarded and recognised for positively impacting people and the environment.

The winning projects will be given additional professional help to increase their impact across the city, as well as having their ideas on posters across the city later in the year.

Out of 54 schools and youth groups who requested the Groundbreakers Action Pack, eight projects were awarded for innovation, impact and reach by Cllr Asher Craig and Simi Pam from Bristol Bears during the awards ceremony.

Fahma Mohamed, famous for her tireless campaigning against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and Simi, also gave empowering motivational speeches to the youth who attended the awards ceremony, encouraging them to continue to use their voices to bring about change, despite challenges they may face.

Jenny Foster from the Global Goals Centre, and organiser of the event said: “Young people often feel that their voices aren’t heard, but they are passionate about climate and equalities. Through this competition we’ve been able to help them turn their ideas into real projects in their neighbourhoods and schools, and it is wonderful to celebrate their creativity and commitment through these awards.”

Sean Fox, Associate Professor in Global Development at the University of Bristol’s Cabot Institute for the Environment said: “It was inspiring to see the creativity, vision, and motivation of these young Groundbreakers. Each of the entries showed how local actions can help us tackle the global challenges set out in the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Fahma Mohamed added: “It was an honour to be part of this event. I loved hearing about the youth-led projects, and to see the enthusiasm from young changemakers in the room. Thank you for inviting me.”

The Groundbreakers awards were awarded as follows:

Innovation Award

Age 7-11: Horfield Primary School for involving the whole school in researching renewable energy options, reducing litter and writing and recording a song as a way to spread their eco message beyond the school.

Age 11-16: BS13 Green Influencers who imaginatively addressed the litter problem in their neighbourhood to try and change attitudes and behaviours of people beyond the group.

Age 16-25: University of Bristol’s SDG 12 Squad for addressing fast fashion by tackling it at all levels. They worked directly with a leading fashion brand that is not caring for their workers or for the environment and are looking to spread their message to consumers.

Impact and Reach Award

Age 7-11: Freedom Kids Podcast for their podcasts on green issues, health and social justice.

Age 11-16: St Mary Redcliffe and Temple Eco Club for their clear aim of installing solar panels on their school roof and for mobilising the whole school and challenging senior leaders. The award also recognised their use of a song to engage people across and beyond the school.

Age 16-25: St Brendan’s College Eco Club for their positive direct action through the transformation of their college grounds to promote biodiversity and wellbeing.

Special Recognition Award

40th Bristol Guides for making and distributing Happy Boxes in their street to help the health and wellbeing of their neighbours.

Lockleaze Green Influencers for working to reduce litter in their neighbourhood. They want to raise money for more bins and to share their ideas with others.

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