West Midlands Regional Final 2018 – #2 !

West Midlands Regional Final #2 : 16th May 2018

The second of the Solution for the Planet’s Big Ideas Competition 2018 West Midlands Regional Finals was on Wednesday 16th May at the University of Wolverhampton.

Dr. Petula Nurse (the students were very amused when she pointed out that, yes, she really was called ‘Dr. Nurse’!), gave us a wonderfully engaging and inspiring welcome speech, and also encouraged the schools to bring students along to the university’s SciFest 2018 (find out more about this event here).

We had 11 fantastic teams from 5 schools – Heath Park School, Moseley Park School, Colton Hills Community School, The King’s Church of England School, and Hodge Hill College – and on our judging panel we had Charlotte Hosier (South East Programme Coordinator) from S4TP; Rajinder Athwal (Carbon Compliance Manager) from our business partner Tarmac; Sue Craig (Marketing Services Manager) from our business partner Brammer Buck & Hickman; and guest judges Richard Davies, MBE (Sustainability Entrepreneur) and Fideline Tchuenbou-Magaia (Chair STEM Outreach West Midlands, University of Wolverhampton).

Third place went to Stop Bullying, from Moseley Park School.  As the name implies, the team wanted to tackle all types of bullying, and had a number of ideas they wanted to develop, but the one that really caught the attention of the judges was the use of an interactive Virtual Reality game that would put the bully into the shoes of the person being bullied.

Clean Hands, from Hodge Hill College, took the second place award.  The had put a lot of detail on their business plan, and their idea was for a simple water filtration kit to enable clean water for washing hands in countries where a lack of this causes serious hygiene issues.  They actually filtered some dirty water during their presentation, and had the cleaned, finished product to show the judges by the end of it!

The winner of this regional final was Sea Savers, also from Hodge Hill College.  Their mission is to make their school (and then other schools!) plastic-free.  Not only did they deliver a very slick presentation, but they really impressed the judges with their passion, determination – and implementation!  In the month since the shortlisting, they have already met with the school’s catering supplier, as well as their head teacher, and have successfully persuaded big changes at the school!  No more plastic bottles will be used, no more plastic cutlery, no more plastic film on baked goods – and more changes in the pipeline!  We can’t wait to see how much more they will manage to achieve between now and the National Final!

As with the first West Midlands Regional Final, it made me incredibly proud to watch all my West Midlands teams, and see how well they presented!  Regardless of how well they do in the competition itself, all the young people we work with are incredible, and in a world full of problems and stories of doom, they fill me with hope and optimism for the future!  They just need our support and guidance to make their ideas a reality and affect real change.

Good luck to team Sea Savers at the National Final at the Palace of Westminster in July!

Written by: Sarah Milburn, S4TP Programme Coordinator, West Midlands

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solutions for the Planet Ltd.