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Generation Green project to deliver new jobs and volunteer roles for the generation

Thousands of young people will have the opportunity to establish connections with the environment through a new project dedicated to generating new jobs, training, volunteering and outdoor learning opportunities. 

Generation Green project

The Green Recovery Challenge Fund grant will support several not-for-profit environmental and outdoor education organisations and the Generation Green Project, a plan that focuses on young people from BAME groups, disadvantaged backgrounds and coastal regions. The grant was awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, on behalf of (Defra) to the Access Unlimited Coalition. The group consists of YHA, The Outward Bound Trust, Scouts, Girlguiding, Field Studies Council and 10 English National Parks.

The project will run for 16 months and include new jobs, placements, apprenticeships and volunteer opportunities in the outdoor and environmental industry. Generation Green will utilise the potential reach of the coalition partners that spans beyond two million young people. With support from Access Limited, the project will create over 100,000 green industry opportunities to connect young people directly with nature.

The project highlights that the environment workforce remains one of the least diverse workforces in England. Through a range of volunteering projects that connect young people to nature and the outdoors for the first time, the activities created via Generation Green will form a catalyst for the younger generation to see the potential of a career in the environment and outdoor industry. Generation Green will operate under the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan to sustain and expand the capacity in the sector. It also represents the initial step towards the Glover Review recommendation that states every child should spend a night under the stars in a National Landscape.

Activities within the project include small scale tree planting, self-guided learning to overnight experiences in National Park and AONBs. The underlying goal is to inspire a love of nature in the younger generation. All project members have remained operational during the pandemic and continued to provide outdoor learning to young people, families and volunteers. These continued measures have allowed the group to develop a clear framework to enable a safe and secure reopening.

The youth charity, YHA will manage the coalition and the overall delivery of the Generation Green Project. Following project delivery, the Outward Bound Trust will assess the project and create a blueprint to support other outdoor education providers in re-establishing their services and enabling them to connect with more young people. James Blake, the CEO of YHA, believes Access Unlimited has achieved a great deal in a short space of time. Mr Blake emphasises that the grant funding shows the force of collective action. Mr Blake explains that their targets to reach 5 million young people over the next five years required collaboration and partnerships.

The coalition offers practical solutions to the ongoing challenge that many young people continue to have little or no access to careers in nature. The measures and action taken will generate real opportunities to thousands of young people that have been impacted by the pandemic and have limited access to green spaces.

Mark Castle, the CEO of Field Studies Council, explains that Access Unlimited will inspire the younger generation to experience nature for the first time. The hope is this will strengthen interest in the opportunities available in the natural environment. The FSC will also provide a range of training and learning opportunities and residential courses at their specialist field centres.

Trevor Beattie, the CEO of South Downs National Park and the lead in the education portfolio for UK National Parks believes the project represents an exciting time and chance for young people to enjoy and learn about our National Parks. Mr Beattie highlights that around 20% of children live in deprived regions and have never had the opportunity to visit the natural environment at all and stresses that this must change. Outdoor learning experiences are so beneficial for mental health and our wellbeing, and the pandemic has emphasised how important this type of activity is in our lives. With young people facing many challenges, enabling adventures outdoors is vital to supporting their wellbeing.

Nick Barrett, the CEO of the Outward Bound Trust believes Generation Green will enable young people to be more resilient to the challenges we face. Connecting and immersing in nature is critical for our wellbeing. Mr Barrett emphasises that adventure in nature enables and builds self-belief and optimism. The funding will introduce thousands of young people to the opportunities available in our outdoor world and open paths to possible employment for disadvantaged and marginalised people nationwide. The Outward Bound Trust will focus on two projects aimed at women and young people from Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups. The goal of the projects is to support further opportunities for people in under-represented backgrounds. Generation Green’s core goal is sharing best practices and working together for the collective good of the younger generation and our environment.

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