Every school, college and university in the Northwest will have free access to support to become greener and more climate resilient in a national scheme backed by £2 million of Department for Education (DfE) funding. Schools will be able to develop climate action plans to boost climate education, promote green careers, reduce carbon emissions, increase biodiversity and allow them to become more resilient to climate extremes.
The project will establish nine regional hubs across England, hosted by 12 universities and organisations with expertise in sustainability. These hubs will recruit and support volunteers from industry and academia to work as Climate Ambassadors. The ambassadors will provide advice and support to nurseries, schools, colleges and universities in developing Climate Action Plans across 4 key areas — sustainability leadership, climate science, environmental education, and communications and digital infrastructure.
Manchester Metropolitan University will be the regional hub for the North West and will build on its extensive experience in delivering Carbon Literacy training, which help people and organisations understand how to cut their carbon footprint. In December, Manchester Met celebrated 11 years as a top three UK sustainable university in the People and Planet University League.
The new project will be co-led by EAUC, the national sustainability charity for Universities in the UK, and the University of Reading, and will be a collaboration involving Manchester Metropolitan, the University of Newcastle, University of Leeds, Keele University, Universities for Nottingham, the University of East Anglia, the Met Office and University College London along with other national partners at STEM Learning, Hopscotch Consulting and Change Agents.
The expanded Climate Ambassadors scheme will launch in March 2024 and aims to rapidly scale up support for English schools, colleges and universities to support the DfE’s sustainability and climate change goals.
Dr Rachel Dunk, Principal Lecturer and project lead at Manchester Met, said: “It’s never been more important to support and empower people to make a difference to climate change and cutting their carbon emissions. We’re delighted to be leading this project for the North West and we can build on the work we’ve already delivered to organisations around the region in Carbon Literacy training, where we not only help people to understand how they can cut their carbon footprint but how they can help others to do the same.”
Prof Liz Price, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Sustainability at Manchester Met, added: “As a University we’re dedicated to cutting our emissions on campus but also building a pipeline of skills – green skills and technologies that will support a more sustainable future. We look forward to working with partners around the region in making the North West a beacon of sustainable development practice.”