Belfast Hills Partnership’s Environmental Youth Ambassador Ciarraí Culbert is a young lady on a mission for change, as she heads to Westminster on the 5th March to challenge MPs to help create a bright future for our local environment.
The three big asks that Ciarraí has are that young people are given:
- More time spent learning in and about nature
- Support to get into environmental jobs
- And that Government, employers, businesses, schools and charities to pay more attention to the needs of young people and the environment
In preparation for her visit to Westminster Ciarraí met with her local MP Paul Maskey. Mr Maskey said “I would like to congratulate Ciarraí on becoming a Youth Ambassador; it’s obviously an important role. I will ensure that people like myself and other colleagues will continue to cherish and care for our local environment”.
Ciarraí’s involvement with the Belfast Hills Partnership began in 2017, when she and her Naomh Gall teammates began their John Muir Award, an environmental scheme that focuses on wild places, encouraging awareness and responsibility for the natural environment. The girls have completed two levels of the award and they’re already planning to spend a third summer conserving the Hills. She is also a member of St Dominic’s Eco-Club, who is currently working with the Belfast Hills to improve their school grounds for wildlife.
Ciarraí said “I’ve always had an interest in nature, probably because my dad always took me walking with him to the hills and forests, surrounding the city. So, being outdoors and caring for nature seemed to be a natural thing for me to do. I’m really excited about the prospect of going to London to speak to the decision makers to make sure all young people have the opportunity to explore wild places the way I have”.
Ciarraí is not a lone voice in this matter, but will be joining about 70 other young people from across the whole of the UK who together makes up part of the ‘Our Bright Future’ programme.
Our Bright Future is an ambitious and innovative partnership led by The Wildlife Trusts, which brings together the youth and environmental sectors. The £33 million programme, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, is formed of 31 projects across the UK, which is running for up to five years. Each project is helping young people aged 11-24 gain vital skills and experience and improve their wellbeing. At the same time, they act as catalysts for delivering change for their local environment and community whilst contributing to a greener economy.
Our Bright Future is working with thousands of young people across the UK, with the Belfast Hills Partnership delivering the programme to young people in the Greater Belfast Metropolitan Area.
Belfast Hills Partnership Scheme Manager Lizzy Pinkerton who will be accompanying Ciarraí to Westminster said “Our environment is our future, so we need those in power to be making better decisions now so that our young people have a sustainable, quality environment going forwards”.