Youngsters receive £60,000 of funding to manage Seaham Beach coastline and surrounding environment

The money will be used to employ a Blue Mentor who will recruit young people to become ‘Blue Influencers’.
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Children from East Durham are to be charged with the task of helping to manage Seaham Beach and the coastal environment in which they live.

Seaham and East Durham is part of Groundwork NE & Cumbria, one of 22 charities to successfully bid for £60,000 of funding from the Blue Influencers Scheme.

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Spread over three years, the money will be used to employ a Blue Mentor who will recruit young people to become ‘Blue Influencers’.

These young people, aged 10 to 14, with the support of their Blue Mentor, will create and run social action schemes to improve the environment of their schools, neighbourhoods and communities in and around Seaham.

The national launch of the Blue Influencers Scheme.
Photograph: Stuart Walker Photography 2023.The national launch of the Blue Influencers Scheme.
Photograph: Stuart Walker Photography 2023.
The national launch of the Blue Influencers Scheme. Photograph: Stuart Walker Photography 2023.

After being awarded the funding, Jacqui Hodgson, Youth Programme Manager from Groundwork NE & Cumbria, said: “Following the successful delivery of Green Influencers, we are excited to adapt our delivery to the Blue Influencer programme. "The same experienced Youth Worker team will use this funding to support young people in East Durham to tackle environmental issues in their local blue spaces and gain new skills which will improve their life and career prospects.

"We are excited to be working with schools and youth groups to give young people these opportunities and a voice on environmental and climate issues helping them to engage with partnerships in the local community.

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"All these efforts will raise the profile of environmental youth social action.”

Children managing their local coastline.
Photograph: Stuart Walker Photography 2023.Children managing their local coastline.
Photograph: Stuart Walker Photography 2023.
Children managing their local coastline. Photograph: Stuart Walker Photography 2023.

The Blue Influencers Scheme is a ground breaking project from UK outdoor education charity The Ernest Cook Trust, with the ambition to "support young people from under-served communities and those living in deprived coastal, estuary and riverside locations, by empowering them to tackle environmental and climate issues".

The £2.25m scheme is being funded by the trust along with The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Ed Ikin, Chief Executive of The Ernest Cook Trust, said: “Young people are often the most passionate about the environment and are very aware of the issues we face with climate change.

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"The Blue Influencers Scheme will give them the funding, platform and tools they need to make positive changes to benefit their entire community.

“We were pleased to select to join the Blue Influencers Scheme and are excited to see just what the young people come up with.”

Examples of areas being addressed are coastal litter and pollution, climate change and the increased risk of coastal flooding, and the challenges faced by coastal economies.