Birmingham community groups are celebrating after receiving funding from Virgin Media O2 to run projects across the city which are encouraging young people and communities to get involved in conversations and positive action on climate change.
Following an application process, Kashmiri Arts & Heritage Foundation and Northfield Arts Forum have received grants from Virgin Media O2’s Together Fund to help run their respective ‘B10 Urban Farm’ and ‘Big Green Future’ projects.
The grants have been provided to mark Great Big Green Week (18-26 September) which is being spearheaded by The Climate Coalition to highlight action being taken to respond to the climate crisis, and the steps that people are able to take to reduce their impact on the planet. Kashmiri Arts & Heritage Foundation, in partnership with Victoria Park Productions, is running the ‘B10 Urban Farm’ where children aged between 11 and 16 can grow vegetables at home and redistribute excess produce to those in need in their community.
The project aims to educate young people about where food is grown and how they can reduce their carbon footprint. During Great Big Green Week, the foundation hopes to have between 150-200 participants involved with the ‘urban garden’.
Omar Hanif at the Kashmiri Arts & Heritage Foundation said: "We are extremely excited to have support funding from Virgin Media O2 and facilitated by Climate Coalition. Our project - the B10 Urban Farm - aims to spread the message of how reducing our carbon footprint can be done through self-sufficiency and encourage more food items to be grown at home.
“We are looking for participants within the B10 ward or surrounding areas of Birmingham to volunteer and grow vegetables at home and distribute any excess food grown to the some most deprived homes in the area. The B10 Urban Farm project wants to change perceptions and encourage future generations to stay carbon neutral at home."
Big Green Future
Northfield Arts Forum ‘Big Green Future’ is being led by young climate leaders and will ask young people aged 5 to 25 to create art, poetry or hold a performance in response to the questions:
· “What does a good green future look like for you?” and
· “What is a good green job you would love to do/invent?”
The creative responses will be shared as part of a week-long climate festival.
Oliver Armstrong from Northfield Arts Forum, said: “Northfield Arts Forum has been working to support, mentor and empower young creative leaders for over a decade, and we have heard their cry to put climate justice at the heart of our work. We are grateful for this grant - it will seed good green things.”
Tracey Herald, Head of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at Virgin Media O2, said: “We’re proud to support and fund these events for Great Big Green Week which are investing in and supporting young climate leaders across Birmingham to bring forward their ideas and solutions to the threats posed by climate change. We know that young people are increasingly worried about the impacts of our changing climate, and we want to give them a platform and a voice to campaign on the issue and inspire others in their communities to take action, too.
“Virgin Media O2 is taking urgent action to respond to the climate emergency by setting a goal to become net zero in our operations by the end of 2025, and we’re committed to helping our customers live more sustainable lives through technology and innovation.”
It comes ahead of the UN climate summit, COP26, which is taking place in Glasgow in November and will bring together world leaders and activists to tackle climate change.
Ben Margolis, Interim Director from The Climate Coalition, said: "Young people have the most to lose from the impacts of climate change. We are delighted that this support is enabling more inspiring young people to come together and unite in the urgent fight against climate change.
“Great Big Green Week takes place in the run-up to COP26, the international climate summit hosted in Glasgow in November. The week's activities will demonstrate that people from all walks of life across the UK care about climate change and want to see politicians take action at COP26 to limit its worst effects."