Last month marks 2 years since the launch of our Youth Eco Forum (YEF), a group of young environmentalists that meet to discuss their concerns about the environment, share solutions and plan events.
“Whilst it’s true that you can only do so much alone, by coming together, we can find ways to reduce the human impact on climate change and make a positive difference.” says founder member Catherine Sleeman. “The idea was to bring us together and give us space to speak about issues important to us and operate independently.”
The forum was initially set up as a fortnightly Zoom meeting during lockdown and is an easy way for young people from across a wide area of Horsham District and beyond to meet.
Over the last 2 years the group has produced a fantastic e-magazine called Planet B. The quarterly e-zine has a range of articles chosen by the team and invited or guest writers. Topics range from food waste to biodiversity to eco beauty products and green tech and engineering. The e-zines are designed, illustrated, written and edited entirely by the members.
Another important part of the YEF is community events and last summer, they secured an Argus Crisis Grant to develop and run the Beyond Be-Leaf Outdoor Education Day where Year 7 and 8 pupils from Tanbridge House, Christ’s Hospital and City of London Academy Southwark schools learnt about local wildlife, woodland management, and positive climate solutions. All the workshops were planned and delivered by YEF members.
This year, things haven’t slowed down. YEF have organised a Community seed-planting event to raise money for the Woodland Trust, participated in walks with Community Rewilding Volunteers and participated in public outreach on the Sussex Green Living Eco Float. They also have planned WSCC Waste educational trips, and their latest project is a planet-friendly digital recipe book for teenagers.
The team are also seeing personal benefits of joining the forum as they are able to add to their “Eco-portfolio” ready for job and college interviews. Catherine Sleeman has recently won the Young Volunteer of the Year Horsham District Award for her contribution in setting up and running the YEF, while current leader, Max Moorcroft, who is shortly heading off to university says: “Being in YEF has exposed me to so many new opportunities and has allowed me to meet tons of lovely, like-minded people; being in this leadership role has also taught me valuable communication and organisation skills.” These are certainly useful skills and experience for the future.
If you would like to get involved, the YEF meets fortnightly on a Tuesday via Zoom and is open to 14-21 year olds. Find out more at https://www.sussexgreenliving.org.uk/youth-eco-forum/ or email