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Our first ever Youth Conference inspires students to take sustainable action 

The first week of term was an exciting one with our first-ever Youth Conference at Goldsmiths University in New Cross. With a ‘Climate and Sustainability’ theme and coinciding with World Earth Day in April, the conference aimed to provide a platform for our children and young people to come together and discuss environmental issues, explore solutions and inspire action within their communities. 

After today, I really hope people take away that they do have individual power and they can make their voices heard and also that there is a place for them in the climate movement and in protecting our earth. I really hope they realise just how valuable their experience, skills and ideas are in protecting our planet, and that there are so many different ways that they can be involved.

Dominique Palmer, Climate Justice Activist and Keynote Speaker

Drawing participation from students across our nine schools, the event featured a range of interactive workshops and thought-provoking keynote presentations. We were delighted to have a great line-up of speakers and workshop leads to inspire pupils from all of our schools on a range of environmental topics including:

  • The power young people have to influence climate change
  • The role of sustainable urban planning with a focus on green roofs
  • Global challenges we face and how we can tackle some those on a local scale
  • Encouraging pupils to make pledges to address climate change
  • Solutions to re-wild local spaces pupils have access to in school and in and around home
  • The importance of green space

Our main keynote speaker, Dominique Palmer – a climate justice activist – spoke to pupils about their role in climate action, the anxiety young people may feel about climate change and the power of their voice in the climate movement.

Our pupils were engaged and interested and asked some very challenging questions of our speakers and workshops leads, enjoying the experience of this event.

It’s easy for young people to feel they have no voice or opportunity to bring  change, but by having a conference like this and hearing from other young people, they can see they do have a voice and can make a difference themselves.

Jan Shadick, CEO, Haberdashers' Academies Trust South

Part of our Haberdashers' Advantage programme, this annual conference will provide a key platform for pupil voice across the Trust. Working in partnership with our Youth Advisory Board means we can use this event to inspire conversations and drive actions on the issues and interests that matter to our children and young people.

This year's conference will help form the foundations for a sustainability strategy, based on the actions our children and young people feel are most important.

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