Green Academies Project 2

Green Academies Project volunteer Jacko teaches bug hunting with young teens

A £1m project will help give young people the skills and opportunities to help care for local natural places across five cities in England and Wales.

Green Academies Project 2 (GAP2) will see six of our places working closely with a wide range of local partners to recruit young volunteers aged 11 – 24 in Birmingham, South London, Greater Manchester, Newcastle and Wrexham.

Our ambition is to connect young people to local green spaces, giving them the skills and opportunities to help look after nature on their doorstep.

Past success

The project builds upon a successful youth project in Birmingham, where we've been working with the local authority and park groups to give young people aged 16 - 19 access to formal qualifications, training and skills development in countryside management.

Since the project in Birmingham began in 2009, young people have spent more than 20,000 hours volunteering at our places and local green spaces in Birmingham.

Our Bright Future

GAP2 is part of Our Bright Future, a £33m programme funded by the Big Lottery Fund and run by a consortium of eight organisations led by The Wildlife Trusts.

Our Bright Future 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. 31 youth-led projects across the UK are each receiving around £1m of funding to give young people the skills and knowledge to improve their local environments - from reducing marine pollution to minimising food waste.

Skills and training

GAP2 will be based at six of our places in England and Wales:

  • Birmingham: Clent Hills and partner sites in Birmingham City
  • South London: Morden Hall Park
  • Greater Manchester: Dunham Massey and Quarry Bank
  • Newcastle: Gibside
  • Wrexham: Erddig

These six places will work with local partners in the youth, education and conservation sectors to develop volunteering programmes for young people, opportunities for young people to achieve informal or formal conservation training and qualifications, and activities to engage the wider community with their local green spaces.

GAP2 volunteers will work alongside our rangers to learn practical conservation skills like hedgelaying and coppicing, as well as softer skills that will prove invaluable as the young people enter adult life.

The project is being delivered with support from UpRising, a youth development charity, and our local partners.

Local green spaces

GAP2 forms part of our work to support people to look after the green spaces where they live. Over the coming decade we will be testing ways to connect people to their local green spaces and helping people to play a part in caring for these special places.