achieving change through enterprising solutions

One Planet Pioneers heads to Parliament

Actes’ One Planet Pioneers programme was privileged to take part in an event in Westminster recently, joining over 40 young people from Our Bright Futures programmes from across the UK to meet with MPs and ask for more to be done for the environment.

Our One Planet Pioneers client mentor Eilis Sexton along with two local young people from Macmillan Academy, Ella Byrom and Banna Faidulla, attended the Parliamentary reception where over 40 MPs pledged support for ‘The Three Asks’. The asks are; ensuring that more school time is spent learning in and about nature, that a new Future Jobs scheme is funded that allows the environmental sector to support young people into environmental, conservation, horticulture and other careers and that the Government, employers, businesses, schools and charities pay more attention to the needs of young people and the environment.

Our Bright Future is an ambitious and innovative partnership led by The Wildlife Trusts and funded by the UK’s largest community funder, The National Lottery Community Fund.  The parliamentary event highlighted the programme’s work to empower young people to lead positive change in their local environment and community.

One Planet Pioneers (OPP) is a project funded by the National Lottery’s Community Fund through the ‘Our Bright Future Programme’.  OPP is a collaboration of work between different partners, Actes, Middlesbrough Environment City (MEC) and Tees Valley Wildlife Trust. The aim of the project is to develop the skills of young people aged 14-21 years old through environmental projects, events or one-off activities. 

One Planet Pioneer’s offer training and opportunities for young people who get involved in the project with an emphasis on building skills knowledge and understanding with additional focus on embedding team work, confidence, self-esteem and resilience.  It is designed to equip young people with a range of skills that can be taken to prospective employers. 

At the event, MPs including Caroline Lucas and Rebecca Pow, heard from some of the inspiring young volunteers on the key changes they want to see for the environment and their lives, including ensuring schools have at least one hour per day of lesson time outdoors.

Although the MPs from the local area weren’t in attendance, Ella and Banna were really inspired by their visit to Parliament as part of a collective of environmentally conscious young people from across the UK.

Banna said: “My favourite part of the trip was listening to the two young people's speeches – Amelia from Skipton and Dara from Ireland as they made me feel a sense of pride and belonging, listening to how passionate they are about the project they are a part of. They were very inspiring. 

“I loved the parliamentary tour and I learnt a lot of new facts about parliament for example that everyone has the right to request to speak to their local MP by coming to the Houses of Parliament. It was also great to meet the founder and sponsor of the event, Rushanara Ali, and to hear what she said about Our Bright Futures.”

Ella comments: “The whole event was very well organised.  It gave us the opportunity to speak to people to get the point across about the big '3 asks'.”

Eilis Sexton, One Planet Pioneers’ client mentor, said: “The parliamentary reception was a great opportunity for the young people to gain confidence and life skills through networking with MPs and other Our Bright Futures representatives.  Both Ella and Banna are heading off to University and by being involved in the project they now have more awareness of environmental jobs that exist, so they are more informed about the courses they might go on to do. 

“It was a great opportunity to be a part of something bigger as one of the UK’s 31 Our Bright Futures projects and to make an impact as a collective group to an audience of MPs from across the UK.”

For more details or to register an interest in One Planet Pioneer activities call Nicky or Casper at Middlesbrough Environment City on 01642 579839/579832 or email Nicky at