Midcounties Co-op helps school pupils go green on Outward Bound course

Through its Green Pioneers programme, the society has helped youngsters save energy at Bishop’s Castle Community College

Teenagers from Bishop’s Castle have been inspired to make their school more environmentally sustainable – and help it save money in the process – following a week in the Welsh wilderness, where they swopped mobiles for mountains and rubbish for recycling.

As part of a Midcounties Co-operative environmental education initiative, Green Pioneers, year nine students from Bishop’s Castle Community College will be switching off the school’s 400 computers and laptops, having identified the energy and monetary wastage from keeping them on standby.

They’ve also designed and produced promotional badges and posters to communicate the eco-friendly message to their classmates and teachers.

The teenagers developed their ideas during a week at an Outward Bound outdoor education centre in Snowdonia National Park, supported by Midcounties. The trip saw them learn about natural resources, survive on rations, and use only a log-burning stove for heating.

Some of the school’s Green Pioneers

In addition to saving electricity, the students have helped their school partner with a local recycling company that will pay for their used electronics, batteries and printer toner cartridges.

Meanwhile, away from the classroom, they’re also bringing the school’s garden back to life, and exploring ways to grow and use their own fruit, vegetables and herbs.

The Green Pioneers programme is a partnership between Midcounties and the Outward Bound Trust outdoor education charity. The programme encourages young people to explore the issues around climate change and make positive choices to live more sustainably. It teaches one of the five key co-operative values: social responsibility, and practices how it can be applied in everyday situations.

Alan Doust, head teacher at the community college, said: “Since their trip to Wales, the students have been full of enthusiasm for reducing their environmental impact and working towards a more sustainable future for their school.

“It’s been wonderful to watch their sense of achievement build with each new success – whether it’s in the school garden, or in the classrooms. I’m looking forward to seeing what great ideas they up with next.”

Rebekah Brain, colleague engagement advisor at Midcounties, said: “Not only does Green Pioneers teach the students about environmental sustainability, they’re picking up valuable skills for later life and employment. They’ve developed projects, solved problems, and worked with their peers to achieve some fantastic outcomes.

“We’re always finding ways to help develop young people in the communities in which we trade, and this initiative proves successful time and time again.”


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