You, Me and The Climate (Spotlight Project)

Daniel Rose talks about You, Me and the Climate (YOMAC)

What is your project about? How long has it been running?
You, Me and the Climate (YOMAC) is a youth-leadership initiative supported by the National Trust, which empowers young people aged 16-19 to become leaders on climate change and encourages them to take action in their local communities. The project was launched in October 2007 and is currently in its second year.

Describe your role on the project?
I have overall responsibility for YOMAC and its strategy and manage the Project Co-ordinator. I play an active role by attending all events and residentials and work closely with the young steering group.

What is the aim of your project?
The aim of the project is to give young people the skills, knowledge and confidence to become leaders nationally and within their communities.

How are children and young people involved in your project?
The project aims to be youth-led as much as possible and the evaluation of the first year showed that young people wanted a steering group to oversee the project and its future planning and this is now in place and making a positive impact.

What have been the key outcomes/ learning from the project so far?

  • The skills of young people have been developed through a diverse range of training and workshops such as public speaking, campaign planning and dealing with politicians.
  • Launched the “Climatelog” in the first year – a survey and analysis of young people and their part in taking on the challenge of climate change.
  • Introducing accreditation this year, a level 2 qualification in Team Leadership which all young people in the project are undertaking.
  • We are continuing to understand and answer the challenges of running a project where it’s not easy to give support to young people based throughout the country with limited staffing based centrally.

What are the key success factors of the project?

  • Most importantly to us young people leave the project with an increase in skills and confidence and have the ability to take on leadership roles in their community whether that is on climate change or any other issues.
  • That the project makes an impact on the perceptions of The National Trust by young people and the wider public.
  • That young people are seen by The National Trust as an important audience to listen to, take account of in our decision making and involve in the issues we face.

What have been the key benefits of the project to young people?

  • Meeting other young people from different backgrounds, locations and perspectives.
  • An increase in leadership skills and confidence.
  • An increased understanding of climate change and how to move from talk to action.
  • Have lots of fun and creativity!

What barriers have you experienced when setting up and delivering the project and how were they overcome?
A key barrier for us has been running a project with young people based throughout England and Wales with only limited staffing and resources based at our central office. This has meant that we haven’t always been able to offer as much 1:1 support to young people and their community projects as we would like. This has also put a high reliance on national meetings and events which can prove costly and less frequently. We have overcome this to a degree by putting a greater emphasis on regional teams where the young people can come together to support each other’s projects and we can provide more practical support. Also the creation of a young steering group has helped us gain young regional representatives who can help organise and support other young people in their region.

In your opinion, what has been the most significant thing about this project in terms of engaging children and young people to participate in decision-making/ have their say?
Giving young people access to and experience of key decision makers such as National Trust senior staff as well as politicians both nationally and locally; this gives them an understanding of the issues these people face and the chance to practice their skills at asking the tough questions!

If you could give your top tip to anyone who wants to develop a project in this area what would it be?
Make sure you invest realistic amounts of time in planning for success using clear objectives with a long term view. Always ensure where possible to involve young people in this planning and remember this may mean it takes extra time.

Participation Works is a partnership of…
British Youth CouncilChildren's Rights Alliance for EnglandKIDSNational Council for Voluntary Youth ServicesNational Youth AgencyNCB