Big Ideas Competition 2021 National Finalists!

We are pleased to announce the 13 National Finalists for the Solutions for the Planet Big Ideas Competition 2021.

Between September 2020 and March 2021, in the midst of a global pandemic that made every week uncertain, more than 1800 young people across the UK started thinking about what issues mattered most to them. In teams they came up with hundreds of new ideas, ideas that they believed could have a really positive impact on the world.   Despite all the challenges faced; despite schools being closed, then open, then closed, then open again; despite the S4TP team and mentors not being able to physically go into schools for the entire academic year – over 400 young people and their teachers refused to give up on their Big Ideas, and submitted portfolios of work to be considered by Shortlisting judges.  96 teams from 13 schools across England and Central Belt Scotland, managed to complete well over 500 pieces of amazing work!

This year, we’ve had to pivot the programme a number of times.  We have run our first ever 100% virtual Big Ideas Programme!  At the start of the year, with students back in school, we created the ‘Big Ideas Out of the Box’ format and later, when the students were again distance learning, we created the ‘Bitesize Big Ideas’ format so that the schools could still kick off the programme despite all the restrictions we faced.  Our shortlisting events were again held via video conferencing, with panels of amazing judges from our business partners (including new local partners Cadent and Linkcity) and the community.  51 teams were shortlisted for the Regional Finals, again held virtually – live online Q and A sessions with a panel of judges from our business partners Tarmac, IGEM, SGN, Mears Group, Northern Gas Networks, Kongsberg Automotive, and ISS Labour, alongside guest judges from sustainability, academia, business and industry fields, with a Young Person judge on most panels.

The six Regional Finals produced six winners, who each gained an automatic place at the National Final.  We then awarded seven ‘Wild Card’ places, chosen from ALL the other submissions, so we currently have our biggest ever line-up of 13 teams competing in the National Final!

Well done to ALL the teams that entered, you did yourselves and your schools proud.  You have proved beyond a doubt that young people are resilient, resourceful, relevant, remarkable, and a force to be reckoned with.  You are ALL brilliant.

And big congratulations to our thirteen National Finalists, listed below, who will be presenting their Big Ideas via video conference in front of our amazing judging panel, MPs and other distinguished guests on Wednesday 23rd June 2021.

We can’t wait!

'Food For All', Bannockburn High School, Big Ideas Competition 2020 Winners
Team Name School Region Big Idea
Waste Warriors North Durham Academy North England & Central Belt Scotland A community garden where people (and schools/restaurants/ supermarkets) can bring their scrap food, to either be composted or used to grow new produce. A circular system, where the harvested produce is given back to those who have donated waste, or can be given out to those in need.
Life Under Water Bannockburn High School NE & CBS A campaign to stop plastic pollution in the ocean, with initiatives such as beach cleans and in-school reusable cups.
Save Our Earth Kingsmeadow Community School NE & CBS A gaming app to raise awareness about global warming, with multiple purchasable game features. All profits from products bought from the app go towards efforts and organisations fighting global warming. 
Greenways Outwood Academy Freeston NE & CBS Self-driving, environmentally friendly, personal rapid transit pods which travel along repurposed railway lines.
Planet Helpers Heath Park School Central England Dog toys (mostly for puppies) created out of paper mache, using used/scrap paper collected from schools.
Panthers Heath Park School CE A service and an app that gives people ideas on what they can do to stop food waste and educates on how to store food and when they should throw food away.  
W.A.S.P Colton Hills Community School CE A Window Applicable Solar Panel – an adhesive solar panel – scalable to any size window.
Plastic Sucker Perton Middle School CE A product consisting of a pipe and tank attached to a boat which sucks up the plastic from the water while the boat is moving collecting it to be recycled.
Green Life Oaks Park High School South England A service sending out seeds to the wider community and then planting them around the neighbourhood.
The Planet Savers Stratford School Academy SE A method of using magnetised metal in plastic bottles to make collecting them easier. Plastic bottles are currently the 5th most commonly found trash item at beach cleans.
ECONUT Oaks Park High School SE Sustainable products, including coconut concrete, created out of used coconut shells, that which would otherwise be thrown away and can take a whole year to rot.
Eco-Warriors Saint Gabriel’s College SE An initiative and awareness campaign to allocate different activities throughout the duration of the week to encourage residents to recycle.
JEHT Stratford School Academy SE A product which takes in plastic, melts it using solar power, turning it back into crude oil to be used as car fuel. Any fumes are trapped and condensed in a tube and turned back into water. The water is then filtered, producing drinkable water and leftover chemicals, which can be used for science experiments in schools.