In August 2021, Groundwork’s Youth Team invited young people from their Crumpsall Park youth club to form a Climate Leaders group.

The group of young people would agree on, and work together to develop specific environmental projects over the next few years.

13 young people took part over the years, ranging from between 10 and 17 years old, a mix of boys and girls.

Developing Crumpsall Climate Leaders

The Climate Leaders group met regularly, outside of their general youth club developing their idea.

They elected 15 year old Zainab to be the group leader, a passionate young woman who had previously taken part in Groundwork’s Green Leaders programme. Zainab helped lead the group of young people to complete a number of nature restoration and bio-diversity projects in Crumpsall Park community garden.

In October 2022, Groundwork’s Youth Team arranged a collaboration with The Centre for Sustainable Energy, who provided consultancy support to Crumpsall Climate Leaders, helping refine and develop the group’s skills and expertise, helping them understand how they could influence the planning system and learn more about long term climate planning and transformation.

After this workshop, the young people applied for and were successful in a bid to the Centre for Sustainable Energy for their new project: PLACE (Planning Locally to Address the Climate Emergency).

Zainab added,

“We want to make Crumpsall Park the most sustainable park in Manchester!”

The PLACE project

In early February 2023, thanks to funding from In Our Nature and Esme Fairburn, Crumpsall Climate Leaders met with The Centre For Sustainable Energy online to agree a plan and timetable for working together. The plan included:

  1. February – Introduction to the planning system (Zoom)
  2. March and April – Practice using the PLACE planning tool
  3. May – Crumpsall Park Youth Consultation
  4. July – Bringing together results and next steps
  5. August – Meeting with the Park Ranger
  6. September – Park audit across Greater Manchester
  7. October – Final plans and impact

Groundwork’s Youth Team worked with the group on a weekly basis, bringing in The Centre For Sustainable Energy and other experts where needed.

Throughout the programme the young people learned how climate and planning naturally sat together. The Climate Leaders learned about a toolkit the Centre For Sustainable Energy had developed and started to make plans for a pubic consultation about Crumpsall Park.

Young people leading public consultation

In May 2023 the young people began their consultation and engaged with over 300 local people!

Harnessing their local knowledge they were able to connect with other local people using the park. They were comprehensive in their approach and provided details that an external group of professionals would have found challenging.

The young people presented their findings to the Park Ranger who was extremely pleased with the findings however suggested the young people don’t put a full re-design together for the park, unless they were able to fund the changes, as their experience suggested this would disengage the wider community.

Making changes in the park

Using the consultation responses and the feedback from the Park Ranger, the young people decided to focus on one thing at once.

Later in 2023 the Park Ranger sourced some funds to spend in the park, she immediately engaged with the Crumpsall Climate Leaders recognising they were best placed to advise on where it should be spent.

The young people suggested having the visitors centre re-painted, as their consultation showed that graffiti in the park was an eye sore.

Next steps for the young climate leaders

The Crumpsall Climate Leaders have ambitions to share the results of their consultation and their vision with local groups and influencers.

The young people have pledged to lobby and fundraise in order to make change happen.

John Swallow, Youth Social Action Lead added,

“The young people have been an absolute inspiration. It was magical watching them undertake the consultation – the connections they made were great. I’m confident they’re going to make a real difference to the local area.”