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Today, three Hodge Hill schools are celebrating thousands of pounds in prize money as they topped the table in the first Hodge Hill Earthshot competition organised by local MP, Liam Byrne at Millennium Point. Inspired by Prince William's international Earthshot Prize to generate the best ideas to tackle climate change, the Hodge Hill Earthshot brought together 200 East Birmingham schoolchildren to showcase their innovative, creative and practical ideas to help Birmingham go green. The Year 5 and Year 6 pupils from fourteen primary schools across Hodge Hill pitched their ideas on stage at Millennium Point after spending the past six months advised by World’s Largest Lesson, Seven Trent Water, Tyseley Energy Park, the Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust and Birmingham City Council researching local environmental problems and refining solutions. The children were tasked with producing workable, local answers to one of five challenges: protect and restore nature, build a waste-free world, clean our air, fix our climate and revive our oceans. And the children took the task on with gusto. The audience were treated to their best pitches, with wide-ranging and ambitious ideas – from improving air quality to fighting fatbergs. As well as the glory of the win, the children were competing for £5,000 in prizes donated by Severn Trent with £2,500 for the first prize; £1,500 for the second and £1,000 third prize. The winning schools (and their winning ideas) are:

  • First prize: Lea Forest – Spartacus Canal Sweeper An small automated boat designed to clean plastics from Birmingham’s thousands of miles of canals

  • Second prize: Alston – The A to Z of Nurturing Nature The A to Z of Nurturing Nature. A downloadable guide to cherishing and supporting nature, written by children for children

  • Third prize: Brownmead – Repair Our Air A campaign to encourage parents to walk not drive their kids to school that’s already proved to have demonstrable results

Hodge Hill MP, Liam Byrne, who has organised the East Birmingham Schools Earthshot Prize, presented the awards to the winning schools. Mr Byrne said: “We developed this idea because I was finding more and more schools setting up eco-councils when I went to visit. So I wanted to create a platform for everyone to see the passion and inventiveness that I see when I go to visit. And our young people didn’t disappoint. Their practical ideas set out today will genuinely make a difference to a cleaner, greener and more sustainable city. And frankly as the city that pioneered the Industrial Revolution, we’ve got a special responsibility to now lead the green revolution. Generation Earthshot has its best shot with our Birmingham schoolchildren at the fore. Prince William would be very proud." Lea Forest won first prize with their Spartacus Canal Sweeper. Sarah Cunningham, Lea Forest teacher, said: “Our pupils at Lea Forest are absolutely delighted to with the Earthshot Challenge and see their dreams come true.” Tamsin Morgan, Head of Communications at Severn Trent, who was a judge at this morning’s competition, said: “We absolutely loved seeing the wonderful, innovative, creative ideas that the future thinkers of Birmingham shared as part of the Earthshot challenge! We're thrilled to have been involved in an amazing initiative like this, one that will help to inspire and engage young people on key topics like climate change, something we feel passionately about. What a fantastic experience and brilliant outcome for our young environmentalists!' The children were able to showcase their ideas in the Millennium Point’s wonderful auditorium thanks to Millennium’s Point’s support for the Hodge Hill Generation Earthshot. CEO, Abbie Vlahakis said: “I was excited to welcome two hundred local school children to Millennium Point to share their ideas for making Birmingham a greener city. I was hugely impressed by their passion and creative solutions. Here at Millennium Point, we are passionate about supporting young people to protect our planet and Generation Earthshot was a fantastic opportunity to empower school children to make a difference.” The Hodge Hill Generation Earthshot primary schools participating at today’s final at Millennium Point are Adderley School, Alston, Brownmead Academy, Firs, Highfield, Lea Forest, Leigh Primary, Marlborough Primary, Nansen Primary, The Rosary, St Saviours, Tame Valley, Thornton and Washwood Heath Primary. Local supporters include the World’s Largest Lesson, Seven Trent Water, Tyseley Energy Park, the Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust and Birmingham City Council. The judges were Abbie Vlahakis (Chair), Millennium Point; David Horsfall, Tyseley Energy Park; Gareth Morgan, Birmingham & Black Country Wildlife Trust; Jack David, World’s Largest Lesson; Liam Byrne, MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill; Mark Gamble, Birmingham City Council; Tamsin Morgan, Severn Trent and Cllr Majid Mahmood.

Ends Contact: Olivia Coyle 07505 264196 Notes to Editors: 1. Hodge Hill Generation Earth Live Final took place today, Monday 19 June, at Millennium Point. It was live streamed from Facebook where you can see the live stream in full and download the event recording. 2. Hodge Hill MP, Liam Byrne, plans to visit the winning schools the Autumn term to see the projects brought to life. Contact for details 3. Prince William launched the Earthshot Prize in 2020 to ‘find extraordinary solutions to the world’s greatest environmental challenges.’ Read more here. 4. The schoolchildren were challenged to take on the climate crisis through solutions to local environmental issues; they had to consider the practicality of implementation, too. The remit sent to the schools can be seen here in ‘Earthshot Schools Letter 100123.pdf.’


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