In August 2019, members of our young persons’ groups in the North East and Yorkshire came together to discuss Team Fostering’s environmental impact as an organisation, and to think in depth about how the agency, and our foster families, could improve in these areas.
With climate change and environmental champions like Greta Thunburg gaining high profile attention in the media, our young people were inspired to take positive action and formed an Environmental Task Force. Members of Teamies, the North East group, and Project Listen, the Yorkshire group, linked up to explore the environmental challenges the world is currently facing and to look for achievable solutions.
The groups travelled to Dalby Forest in North Yorkshire and put their minds to work straight away on recommendations for the organisation, as well as a reusable bag design initiative, before completing activities including archery, ropework and climbing. The key focus of the day was to reduce plastic waste and the young people put together some top tips on how to reduce plastic use at home, as well as useful feedback for Team Fostering’s board of directors on reducing its waste, carbon footprint and general environmental impact.
Smart ideas sourced by the group included ‘using public transport instead of the car’, ‘growing your own fruit and vegetables’ and ‘getting involved in a local litter pick’. The young people were also set the task of designing a colourful, engaging image to be printed on a reusable cotton shopping bag, which would then be gifted to foster carers. Ellie, aged 13 from the North East group, had her winning design selected by the wider group to be printed on the bags. You can see the group's choice above. Ellie said “We [the young people of Team Fostering] are trying to help save the world; if you see the world as we do, you will try as well.”
The finished bags arrived in the regional offices in January 2020 and were distributed to fostering households very soon after, along with facts and useful information from the group on recycling and reducing plastic waste. Only a few remained, with those quickly purchased by members of Team Fostering staff. The popular design went down a storm with everyone who received one.
You can find out more about the work Team Fostering does with young people on our Education and Support page here.