Meet our Youth Council

Ellie Sherlock

Inspired by the enthusiasm and passion shown by our young Myplace participants, it was time for the Wildlife Trust to embrace the next generation of conservationists with our Youth Council.

The Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside Wildlife Trust Youth Council has been running for over 18 months now. It is thriving and has 12 Council members aged 16 -24 years old from across Lancashire, Greater Manchester and North Merseyside involved. These young people are focussed on working to save the environment, and are keen to get more young people involved in the fight against climate change. They help input into The Trust’s campaigns, as well as providing ideas and a passion for the helping the natural world.

Youth Council at Brockholes

Image by Ellie Sherlock

How the Youth Council works

Usually, the Youth Council meet four times a year at a variety of Wildlife Trust sites across our area. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, young people have been one of the most affected groups with schools, colleges and universities closing across the country.

Despite the challenges involved with social distancing, our Youth Council have embraced the changes and are now holding regular virtual meetings. The Youth Council provides a safe, supportive and positive space for the young people to share ideas, thoughts and feelings. The young people support each other through the difficulties they face during lockdown and have created some wonderful artwork that express their hopes for the future.

Virtual Youth Council Meeting

Our first virtual Youth Council meeting

Drawing by Youth Council member

'Hope' by Tanglewest

Drawing by Youth Council member

'What I hope for' by Hannah

Why join the Youth Council?

The young people feel strongly about the importance of the environment.

“Nature looks after us, we should look after it”, says Joel. Joel volunteers with LWT’s Myplace project, spending his free time helping young people connect with nature to improve mental health.

It’s great to meet like-minded people, and making new friends. I like working together towards a common goal. I learn new things and enjoyed visiting Little Woolden Moss.”

The Youth Council gives its members a way to meet people from across the area broadening their horizons and giving them the opportunity to visit some of our nature reserves they haven’t visited before.

Hannah is a keen environmental and animal rights activist, often sharing tips on how to live a more eco-friendly life. “I was already involved in environmental and wildlife campaigning and I wanted to share my journey. I want to shape services from the bottom up and get young people involved in the future of the LWT. I got involved with the LWT through Myplace two years ago, I started off as a participant. I started going to the project and I felt that I had found a place where I belonged, where nobody would judge me and I could be myself.”

Hannah adds, “I like getting everyone together and being active. I like learning about other people’s ideas and their campaigns. I love the way that when the Youth Council gets together we can bounce ideas off each other and get creative with campaigning. I love the Youth Council because I personally think participation is a great way of improving the great services that we have now. Getting young people actively participating in making changes and decisions for the Trust helps the Trust gain perspective and ideas from young people.”

Another Council member Curtis says “The Youth Council is important to me because in my view, young people need to have more of a voiced opinion about climate change. Also, it helps me feel like I am making more of an impact towards the fight against climate change.”

What's next for the Youth Council?

This year, the Youth Council will be actively involved in the LWT’s #PeatFree and #ActionForInsects campaigns. The Youth Council is still growing and evolving. It is still keen to recruit new young people to The Council. So if you are aged 16 – 24 years of age, or know someone that is, and they live in Lancashire, Manchester or North Merseyside please get in contact with Emma Bartlet - ebartlet@lancswt.org.uk

They are exciting plans for the Youth Council, and even in a time of lockdown our Youth Council members are going to be campaigning, and sharing ideas and working towards a wilder, greener, healthier, low carbon UK.