Chancellor Rishi Sunak meets young people from Wibsey Primary School on their two-day school residential trip at YHA Grinton Lodge
The work of the £2.5million Generation Green project was put under the spotlight recently when Rishi Sunak visited YHA Grinton Lodge in his Richmond (Yorks) constituency recently and met with students from Wibsey Green Primary School in Bradford.
Launched earlier this year following a £2,543,602 Green Recovery Challenge Fund, the 16-month project aims to reach 100,000 young people, connecting them to nature through new jobs, training, volunteering roles, residentials and outdoor learning experiences.
Seeing the project in action for himself, Mr Sunak met with a group of Year 5 and 6 pupils from Wibsey Primary School who were enjoying a Generation Green-funded two-night residential at the youth hostel in the Yorkshire Dales.
As part of the residential pupils took part in activities organised by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA), one of the 15 not-for-profit outdoor education providers delivering Generation Green.
Karen Yates, Acting Headteacher at Wibsey Primary School, said: “For many of the children who stayed at YHA Grinton Lodge, it was their first time on a residential and also their first time in the countryside.
“It was a wonderful experience for them, helping them understanding the environment and how to look after and treasure our countryside. The Generation Green project is so important, and we hope it continues so more children can experience being outside in our amazing landscape.”
Mr Sunak said: “It was great to meet the children getting a taste of Dales life learning about the environment and the way the countryside works. The Government is pleased to be funding this excellent programme.”
Led by YHA (England & Wales), Generation Green is the first project to be delivered by Access Unlimited, a coalition of 15 not-for-profit outdoor education providers including YHA, Scouts, Girlguiding, Field Studies Council, The Outward Bound Trust and 10 National Park authorities in England.
James Blake, Chief Executive of YHA (England & Wales) who met with Mr Sunak along with representatives from Access Unlimited partner YDNPA, commented: “It was an excellent opportunity to showcase the work of Generation Green and all the partners involved at YHA Grinton Lodge.
“Spending time with Mr Sunak gave us the opportunity to impress on him the importance of young people spending time in the outdoors and connecting with nature.
“This is more important than ever in the wake of the pandemic where hundreds of thousands of young people missed out on the opportunity to have a school residential. For some of those children, it would be their first time in the countryside. We cannot overlook these young people.
“The Generation Green project aims to reach 100,000 young people and connect them to nature and create employment opportunities for them as well as instil a lifelong love and appreciation for the outside environment. Already, the Access Unlimited coalition has reached thousands of young people and we want to reach many more by continuing to work together.”
As part of the visit Mr Sunak also met Up Skill, Down Dale Generation Green volunteers from his Richmond constituency. Up Skill, Down Dale is just one of the programmes Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) offers as part of the Generation Green project.
The programme is aimed at young people, aged 14 to 30, who would like to ‘make their mark on the Park’ and develop their knowledge and confidence by getting involved in skilled volunteer placements.
Kevin Frea, Member Champion for Promoting Understanding at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority said: “It was great for Lydia and Laura – two of our Up Skill, Down Dale Generation Green volunteers – to meet Mr Sunak and to talk so passionately about their work.
“The programme is already off to a strong start with young volunteers making a difference across the National Park Authority, for example in our Wildlife, Woodlands, Access, and Education teams.
“In addition to her Generation Green project work Laura has joined the steering group of the National Park Management Plan, giving her a say on the work programme of dozens of organisations operating in the National Park.”