S4TP’s new programme Associates

As our organisation grows, and we start working with more young people in more areas of England and Scotland, so our capacity must grow, and we are excited to introduce our first three Solutions for the Planet programme Associates!

They will be familiar faces to some of you, as they have all been involved with S4TP and the programme in different capacities over the last few years.  The Associates will take on the role of Co-Facilitator on the Big Ideas Days and at other events, and provide a general level of regional support to the Programme Coordinators.  We are very excited about this new expansion of the team, and will be welcoming more Associates in the future, and adding their profiles on the website.

Jess Mitchell – S4TP Associate, Yorkshire

I have been linked with S4TP for the last three years after initially joining the organisation as Yorkshire Programme Coordinator in 2016.  After two brilliant years I moved back to academia and now work as a Research Fellow at the University of Leeds where I am developing community-based solutions to antimicrobial resistance in low-middle income countries such as Nepal.  My job allows me to develop Big Ideas of my own and support the ideas of my community partners, however I do also really enjoy working with young people and so I have continued to stay involved with S4TP as an Associate.

It’s great to dip back into Big Ideas Days and see all the fantastic ideas young people can come up with when they are given space and freedom to explore what matters to them.  My favourite parts of the Big Ideas Days are getting to know the young people as they tackle our initial group activities, which often include new and daunting problems that 11-14-year-olds may never have considered before.  However, after time spent brainstorming, our young people are always able to offer really detailed reflections, and often end up discussing points that we as adults had not considered ourselves.  I think Big Ideas Days help the adults in the room to see problems (and solutions) in a different light and let go of their inhibitions a little.  In terms of my research career I often try remind myself to think like I’m on a Big Ideas Day, as it really does help my creativity and problem solving!

Jeremy Newman – S4TP Associate, West Midlands

This is my fifth year helping Solutions for the Planet, previously as a mentor and a judge, and now as both an Associate and mentor. I find the work we do and the ideas generated from the students so inspiring, and being part of the journey from Big Ideas Day to National Final is very rewarding.

I’ve spent over 20 years in commercial marketing, but working with schools and students has helped give me the push I needed to fulfill my long-held desire to become a teacher and I’m currently applying for teacher training next year. In my spare time I enjoy upcycling bottles into lamps and also walking my dog, Molly.

Fran Isherwood – S4TP Associate, South-East England

I am an actor and facilitator, and just as importantly an environmental activist! I have had the best introduction to Solutions For The Planet through hosting a number of the Big Ideas Competition regional finals. Hearing about the groundbreaking ideas for sustainable business and better living that the young people come up with has always been truly inspiring and pushed me to take more responsibility for our world. To be honest, I think the passion and practicality that their Big Ideas demonstrate puts governments to shame, and just reiterates how important it is that we give young people a voice in decisions that affect their future!

Meeting the teams and their teachers, and finding out what motivates them to help save our planet, has always left me wanting to work more closely with them – and now as an Associate I will be lucky enough to have that opportunity. I am really looking forward to encouraging the young people to keep going with their ideas and to find the confidence to work for sustainability in whatever they do.