Green Futures

Green Futures brings environmental opportunities to the ambitious and capable young people of Yorkshire and Lancashire. Through a range of innovative projects we aim to inspire, support and empower young people to create positive environmental change.

From their first trip to the Yorkshire Dales to plant trees to an environmental apprenticeship – Green Futures aims to help young people from all kinds of backgrounds to make a positive impact on the environment and their own lives. 

Over the next three years we aim to support 1,000 young people, helping them become environmental leaders of the future.


Pathways to a Green Future

We have seen young people make an incredible difference to their communities and the environment. But for many, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, their voices continue to be excluded and their power to make a positive difference isn’t realised.

The three steps in our Green Futures pathway aim to support young people on their journey – from inspiring them to connect with nature in the first place to developing the confidence and leadership skills that will enable them to influence change and improve their own life chances.  

Step 1: Engaging and inspiring young people from urban and rurally isolated areas

We reach young people who are not traditionally connected with the natural environment through our Green Guardians project, providing them with inspirational experiences and practical skills, from planting trees to caving and much more. 

Our Green Influencers scheme also gives young people a chance to connect with the natural environment and build skills which will help them contribute to their local communities.

Step 2: Developing the skills and confidence to lead environmental change

Our Youth Environment Forum brings young people together regularly to explore issues and take action for the environment. The Forum also helps to plan and deliver an annual Youth Environment Summit, bringing a diverse group of young people together to enjoy a weekend of sharing ideas and taking part in fun practical activities.    

Our Youth Environment Action Fund gives young people the funding and support to develop and implement their own environmental projects in their local area. Find out more & apply

Step 3: Raising aspirations and breaking down social barriers to give young people the confidence to find their dream job

Environmental Apprenticeships combine college study with certified training courses and hands-on, work-based experience with a range of organisations. It can be life-changing - helping local young people to get on the career ladder and investing in their education and personal development.

Our impact so far 

  • 884 projects delivered by young people 
  • 76% of young people we asked felt more confident after being involved in Green Futures
  • Young people achieved more than 279 qualifications in the first five years of the scheme, including John Muir Award, navigation, and First Aid.
  • £26,500 has been awarded to young people to run their own projects in their communities, including recycling schemes and eco-fairs.
  • More than 200 bird, bug and dormice boxes have been created and 1,250 trees & hedgerows planted.
  • 81% of young people felt that they can now can make a difference to the environment.

Our Bright Future  

Green Futures was launched in 2016 as part of Our Bright Future, a £33 million programme funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and led by The Wildlife Trusts that aims to tackle three big challenges facing society today - a lack of social cohesion, a lack of opportunities for young people and vulnerability to climate change.

The five-year programme is due to draw to a close in 2021, but it’s certainly not the end for Green Futures! Our commitment to young people is as strong as ever, and we continue to put them at the heart of everything we do.

Find out more