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Climate / Future ‘eco warriors’ encouraged to attend youth club

A NEW club open to “all potential eco warriors” aged primary six and over is offering a youngsters a safe space to share their thoughts and ideas on climate change.

The Eco Club has already held two sessions at the Scalloway Youth and Community Centre, but its organisers are keen to increase the numbers of young folk involved.

A key topic discussed at previous meet-ups was food, including local produce and food miles.

The Eco Club is led by youth workers Laura Hughes and Vaila Knight from the youth centre, and it will meet up three times in December.

In March the pair completed a course in carbon literacy for youth workers, while Hughes is currently taking part in the 2050 Climate Group young leaders development programme.

The climate is one of the largest topics affecting the world, and with the drive for Scotland to go ‘net zero’ by 2045 activity on decarbonising everyday life will increase in the coming years.

Scalloway Youth Centre. Photo: Peter Johnson Partnership

Hughes said that “children and young people are our future – we want them to recognise the positive changes we can all make to help towards a unified resolution and to give them a societal responsibility”.

“Providing them with knowledge about climate change encourages them to change their behaviour and helps them to adapt to what it already a global emergency,” she said.

“We want to build their confidence to share their ideas with family, friends, and the wider community, and in the long term we hope it will be possible to provide inter generational workshops led by the young people.”

The youth worker said focusing on food in the first couple of sessions enabled youngsters to learn about where produce has come from, and how it is packaged. 

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“During each session a lunch or supper is included free of charge,” she added.

“We’ve used this opportunity to have conversations about the importance of using local produce and reducing food miles (when this is an affordable option), and also how we can reduce food waste.

“For our second session, all food items were purchased from the reduced section of a local supermarket.

“The next time we meet we have planned a Christmas crafts session using recycled/ repurposed materials. We have a small library of books which participants are able to borrow if they wish.

“We also have internet access to carry out any research during future projects. It’s really important to us that we are providing a safe space for young people to share their thoughts and ideas around climate change and we really want them to take a lead on the topics we cover.”

Hughes said there have been a “few young people that have shown a strong commitment” to the club, but there is “capacity for more young people that are interested and we really hope to increase our numbers”.

The club is next taking place on 10 December between 10.30am and 1pm, with evening sessions planned on 13 and 20 December between 6.30pm and 8pm. Anyone interested in attending can contact the youth centre on Facebook or on 01595 880770.

Funding for the club is coming from Shetland’s Community Led Local Development programme.

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