In September 2021, the British Youth Council issued an appeal to its supporters to complete sponsored litter picks in their local area, fundraising for the British Youth Council, in the Big Autumn Litter Pick. The appeal came in the run-up to COP26 and in the year where the UK Youth Parliament and Youth Councils across the country were campaigning to stop plastic pollution. Last year, Stop Plastic Pollution was voted as one of three top priority issues facing young people in the 2020 Mark Your Mark election.
It is understandable why young people are alarmed at the rate of plastic pollution occurring in the UK. The average Briton’s annual plastic waste includes 242 plastic bottles, 109 single-use coffee cups and 209 crisp packets. According to OSPAR (2009), eight million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans daily. Approximately 5,000 items of marine plastic pollution have been found per mile of beach in the UK, according to the Marine Conservation Society (2016), and this includes the shores of coastal communities such as Blackpool.
Plastic production also directly contributes to the climate crisis. Producing one ton of plastic generates up to 2.5 tons of carbon dioxide, according to Material Economics (2018). So stopping plastic pollution is a critical front in the battle for the future.
In order to contribute to tackling plastic pollution and raise funds for the British Youth Council, Blackpool Youth Council were the first Youth Council in the country to heed the call of the Big Autumn Litter Pick.
In September, Blackpool Youth Council agreed that the ideal time to carry out the litter pick was in October half-term. October is one of the busiest tourist seasons for Blackpool which often results in a great deal of plastic being littered along the Promenade, with tourists choosing to dump their waste rather than take it home. This happens much to the disgruntlement of residents, particularly local young people. There was also substantial plastic pollution around the Bloomfield Road Football Stadium, after a derby match between Blackpool F.C. and rivals Preston North End the previous weekend.
When asked why he did it, Andrew Speight, Member of Youth Parliament for Blackpool, Chair of Blackpool Youth Council and UK Youth Parliament Steering Group representative for the North West, said:
“The British Youth Council is a charity that has well and truly changed my life, as well as enabling me to help change the lives of other young people locally and nationally. Whilst participating in British Youth Council programmes, I have nurtured many skills which have led me to find employment and campaigned for change on issues which are important to young people The litter pick was part of that campaign.
Last year, in Make Your Mark, young people across the nation made it absolutely clear that they wanted action on plastic pollution. My constituents here in Blackpool have also been telling me for years now, even since before I was elected, of their disgust at the behaviour of tourists who dump their rubbish in our home and then drive off. It is not ours, as their representatives, to reason why this result came out of Make Your Mark, it is ours simply to do. I was acting on instruction from the young people I represent.
Although litter picks do stop some plastic pollution, they are ultimately an inadequate solution, as even a group of pickers cannot stop all plastic ending up in the ocean. In order to adequately address the problem in reality, it is important to remember that we need to turn off the tap at the source and reduce plastic production. No amount of litter picks will truly solve the problem.”
The Blackpool Big Autumn Litter Pick took place on 27th October 2021, in the midst of a ferocious rainstorm which was particularly vicious by the sea. Nonetheless, Blackpool Youth Council and young volunteers from local community interest company URPotential went straight onto the promenade, undeterred by the heavy rain, and conducted a thorough litter pick, as well as picking in the nearby areas of Bloomfield and Revoe.
Blackpool Youth Council found a variety of disgusting droppings around the Town, ranging from beer bottles to COVID-19 test packaging in a local park.
In order to incentivise sponsorship, Blackpool Youth Council members dressed in a comedic fashion.
Annie commented, “I did the litter pick because when I heard about the British Youth Council’s Big Autumn Litter Pick I thought it was a great idea to help raise awareness of plastic pollution while raising funds. It was important to me as I am concerned about climate change and plastic pollution has a direct and deadly effect on wildlife. Young people should be involved with litter picking to set a good example and raise awareness.”
Rob added, “I did it because this is where I’ve grown up, and seeing it like it is made me want to do something about it, it’s my home, and I won’t sit there and let this happen. It’s very important because as I’ve grown up, as I’ve learnt more about the messes that are in and around Blackpool, the more it irked me. I grew up here, and it’s in one hell of a state. Something needed to be done, and I wanted to help as much as I can.”
Blackpool Youth Council successfully completed a significant amount of fundraising. As of 1st November, they have raised over £200 (including Gift Aid) towards the national £500 target, meaning they’ve contributed over 40% of the total funds – a significant achievement and greatly valued contribution.
Find out more about the Big Autumn Litter Pick or get involved : https://www.byc.org.uk/blog/2021/the-british-youth-councils-big-autumn-litter-pick
This year, the British Youth Council are going to be taking part in the Big Give Challenge for a fifth year in a row! The Big Give is the UK’s biggest online match funding campaign, which helps charities raise millions each year, and gives supporters an amazing opportunity to have their donations doubled.
Over the course of the campaign, the British Youth Council are aiming to raise £4,000 overall towards our life-changing programmes elevating Youth Voice.
How does it work?
From 12pm Tuesday 30 November 2021 to 12pm to Tuesday 7 December 2021, every donation made via our special Big Give webpage will be doubled*.
So if you donate £10, it becomes worth £20. If you donate £25, it becomes worth £50, and so on.
We need the support of those passionate about elevating youth voice to help raise £2,000, which will be matched by pledges of £2,000 already secured from generous donors and our charity champion, Four Acre Trust.
*Donations are doubled until all pledges funds are exhausted.
Young people feel that their voices are not being heard. They feel worried about their future and disconnected from a society that doesn’t take their concerns seriously.
The British Youth Council helps young people from all backgrounds get connected and use their voice to create change on issues they care about – whether that is finance and economics, healthcare, education or mental health. Through a wide range of programmes and membership services, we educate and train young people to influence and inform the decisions that affect their lives. This enables them to have their say and make them feel engaged in social action.
Through our Big Give campaign, you can help us make sure that young people are heard and given the skills they need to become leaders of tomorrow – and double your impact at the same time.
How do I donate?
Only donations made during the campaign dates on our page of the Big Give website will be doubled. This link will go live on Tuesday 30th November at midday.
The campaign will then run until 12pm midday on Tuesday 7th December, unless we meet our target beforehand.
Donations made outside of these times and dates (or on our British Youth Council webpage rather than our Big Give webpage) will still come to the charity, but won’t be doubled or counted towards the Big Give total.
In 2020’s Make Your Mark ballot, young people voted both plastic pollution and climate change in their top five priority issues. This year, the UK Youth Parliament will be campaigning to address climate change at a national level with a particular focus on making sure that we stop non-essential single use plastics by 2025.
The British Youth Council recognises that solutions like litter picks and recycling are not enough, and that the Government must reduce the amount of plastics initially produced. However, the sad reality is that the average Briton’s annual plastic waste includes 242 plastic bottles, 109 single-use coffee cups and 209 crisp packets according to a DS Smiths poll, and a good proportion of that does still end up littering our communities.
This autumn the British Youth Council are encouraging you as our supporters to keep your communities tidy, reduce plastic pollution, and raise money for the British Youth Council all at the same time. We are looking to raise £500 to support our programmes and campaigns such as Stop Plastic Pollution, and we need your help!
All you have to do is:
- Get your kit together! – grab some bin bags, rubber gloves and litter pickers – you can order these online or borrow kits from your local council – and organise a day to go to your local woods, park, beach or town centre and pick up any stray litter you find. Many local organisations also run community litter picks, so you could arrange to tag along with one of those if you would prefer.
- Get a group of friends together to have more of an impact – the more of you there are, the easier it will be to clean up more rubbish, and the more money you’ll be able to raise.
- Set up a Virgin Money Giving or Facebook Donate fundraising page, where your friends and family can sponsor you for your hard work. Remember to share your fundraising page often, and keep your family and friends updated with photos of you on your litter pick.
- Finally, dispose of the litter that you pick up in a sensible and sustainable way. Recycle anything that can be recycled, and be careful of any sharp objects that you find.
This a really fun way to keep your local area tidy, promote the reduction of single-use plastic within your community, and raise vital funds for the British Youth Council to put towards our campaigns such as Stop Plastic Pollution.
We encourage you to visit the Keep Britain Tidy website for more information and advice on preparation and safety before you begin your Litter Pick!
You can also support us by making a donation via our Virgin Money Giving page.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing email@example.com.
I have spoken to a number of people interested in becoming a charity trustee. There are two common questions:
- What exactly is a trustee?
- Have I really got the experience to contribute?
I won’t dwell on the first question too much, as other blogs cover it – as does extensive information online (I would recommend ‘The Essential Trustee’.
However, the second question is probably a simpler answer than most people expect.
When people think of boards, they often think of highly qualified professionals in formal attire sitting around a table and talking about complex issues. Professionals who ‘know their stuff’. This means a lot of people – regardless of age – are nervous about what they would bring to a board of trustees. The truth is that these fears are missing the point.
The most effective charity boards I have seen have trustees who are inquisitive. Trustees who ask questions and ask for clarity. These questions are crucial to picking up on things that might otherwise have been missed, or to thinking of new ways of working – and it absolutely does not need to be heavily experienced individuals asking the questions. Indeed, the most effective boards I have seen are genuinely diverse. Diverse in terms of level of experience, background, interests, you name it. What is important is that Trustees can offer different perspectives.
So, what do you need to be an effective trustee? I would say:
- A willingness to speak up – the ability to ask questions and challenge the status quo
- A curiosity in the charity and its strategy
- A real desire to make a difference to the charity and its beneficiaries
Despite how it may be coming across, I am not saying that boards don’t need expertise. They definitely do. Indeed, varied experience across the board is crucial to effective governance. However, what I am saying is that to become a trustee, you don’t need to know it all. At the age of 24, I myself can absolutely not pretend to know even close to ‘it all’. As the title says, if you have the desire to make a difference, you’re almost certainly more qualified to be a trustee than you might think.
Being a trustee is a responsible role. It can at times be challenging, and issues you may not have seen before will often come up. But if you’re passionate and interested – and most importantly willing to speak up and contribute – you can be in no doubt that you will be an asset to the board. The British Youth Council has the most welcoming and supportive board you could ask for, so don’t shy away from applying if you’re interested in becoming a trustee.
We are currently looking for people with experience in people, change management, finance and risk for our ongoing appointment round. As is the theme throughout this blog, this experience can come in different shapes and sizes. You may have gained experience through volunteering, or through school or university. You may have a part-time or full-time job that deals with related issues. If this sounds like you, we would be keen to hear from you and hear a bit more about what you might have to offer as well as why you might want to support the British Youth Council.
If you would like to join our Board of Trustees, find out more. And if you’re still having doubts, why not reach out to a trustee for a chat?
Sunday 25th July saw the return of large-scale organised runs in the capital, with the ASICS London 10k taking over the streets between Oxford Street and Westminster.
The British Youth Council team, made up of supporters and partners, took part in this exciting run to raise vital funds in support of our work empowering young people to share their voice and create meaningful change. A cheer team was also on hand to provide a boost to all of the runners and to soak up the atmosphere of the event.
Overall, the British Youth Council team raised a phenomenal £1,112. This is an incredible achievement from our runners, and all of the funds raised will be invested into amplifying the voices of young people all across the UK.
Thanks to all of our amazing runners, our fantastic cheer team, and everyone who sponsored and supported along the way. We couldn’t do what we do without any of you!
If you would like to take part in a challenge event or would like to organise your own fundraising event, please get in touch with our Fundraising Intern, Olivia Attey, on firstname.lastname@example.org
The British Youth Council’s 100k in a month Challenge is coming to an end. It began in February 2021 as a way to engage with our supporters in a fun but Covid-safe setting, and it has been immensely successful in its first year. All together, we raised over £3000 in this challenge, which is more than three-times our initial target! As a community, we grew, with partakers from across the UK and all over Europe participating, and sponsors from all over the world.
Thank you to all of you who participated, shared and donated to this challenge, as without your AMAZING support and effort, we never would have achieved such an accomplishment.
One of our participants Chris Attey, 58, decided to take part in this challenge along with 5 friends he’s known since school. They walked from Chepstow (Monmouthshire, Wales) to Carey (Herefordshire, England) following along the Wye river. They accomplished 80km in 2.5 days!
Chris shared this heart-warming message about his experience, “I often walk less than 3,000 steps in a day, so completing over 40,000 for two consecutive days, and then another 20,000 the next morning was a massive challenge. I almost gave up after day two, I ached so much, but seeing the donations still coming in gave me a massive boost and kept me going. The British Youth Council does such important work and raising money for them by doing this challenge has been a privilege. One of the most enjoyable and satisfying experiences I’ve ever had!”
If you are interested in partaking in another Challenge for the British Youth Council, or know someone who would be, we have exciting news for you – The British Youth Council has two more spots free in the Asics 10K London Run, which will take place on the 25th July, 2021. But hurry, the deadline is the 16th July, 2021.
If you missed out on doing the 100k this year, do not worry! We will be launching this challenge event again next year in February, so be sure to mark it in your calendars.
Policy plays a big role in our work here at the British Youth Council. It is driven directly from the manifestos of the UK Youth Parliament and the British Youth Council. These important documents, like all the work we do, are formed and reviewed by young people depicting what local and international issues matter most to them. The motions put forth in these documents also include the British Youth Council’s annual priority topics, which young people actively go on to campaign on, with one of our biggest campaigns being the Votes at 16 campaign. With the help of many other organisations, coalitions with the same aims, and government groups we are involved with such as All Party Parliamentary Groups, campaigns like this in particular have gone on to make real change in other parts of the UK.
Our policy work as helped young people interact and engage with various political stakeholders in a wide range of programmes. Some of these include the Covid-19 Task Force Enquiry, the DCMS Youth Review, and the Youth Voice Group, who have worked to pair young people with government departments such as the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Cabinet Office to consult on topics such as domestic abuse. They have helped us to create platforms and opportunities where young people can feel empowered to speak up on important matters that affect their lives, and make relevant changes.
Another programme led by young people is the Youth Select Committee. This has showcased the real importance of our policy work, having launched their report on knife crime in 2019, which the Government has acknowledged and responded to. Prior this report, young people facilitated various roundtables, consultations, and meetings forming crucial relationships with political leaders and community organisations also keen to dismantle the knife crime epidemic.
Finally, to shine light on the amazing international team and their tremendous engagement within international policy. The British Youth Council currently have two of our UK Young Ambassadors actively serving and representing on international boards; the Commonwealth Youth Council and The European Youth Parliament. Our international team help represent the young people in our community on international issues such as the environment and gender-based violence, having recently written a joint letter with the European Youth Forum to our Foreign Office calling for the ratification of the Istanbul Convention. In all, young people have shown tremendous commitment to making positive change in the world of policy.
If you care about our policy work which enables us to empower young people and provide them with a platform to speak up and be heard, please show your support with a small donation, or sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date with our activities!