Can you help us to set up this exciting project to encourage our young people to engage with our environment and become fantastic ambassadors for our coastlines and wildlife?
We are the Final Straw Solent, a non-profit community interest company that works to highlight the impact of single-use plastic on our environment and wildlife. We work with communities and business to encourage people to try to reduce their disposable plastic footprint to help the health of our oceans and countryside.
Since we started up a couple of years ago, we have run over 60 beach cleans with the help of hundreds of volunteers, and together we have removed over 40 tonnes of waste from our local beaches. This is an astonishing amount and there is still so much work to be done as more plastic and rubbish washes up on every tide.
We have carried out nearly 60 school assemblies over the last 18 months, reaching nearly 20,000 school children with the message about how our reliance on single-use plastic is negatively impacting our environment. In 2019 we ran an 'Single-Use Plastic Free Day' on Sir David Attenborough's birthday - 154 schools took with over 65,000 pupils took part, and we even had a letter of congratulations from the big man himself! The emphasis was that plastic can indeed be fantastic, if used in the right way and not for disposable items that we use for less than 10 minutes.
We have also made great strides by working with businesses to reduce the amount of single use plastic they use, by conducting individual, group and business beach cleans and by working with Solent based schools to provide assemblies on the impact of single use plastic on our wildlife and marine life. To date we have 441 businesses that have become affiliated with the campaign and have removed items of single use plastics from their daily business and home lives.
Our latest project involves setting up a network of Youth Eco Councils to help educate young people about how their every day choices can have an impact on the environment and the positive things we can do to help our local wildlife, green spaces and oceans. An initial trial in our local town has so far been successful and the young people involved came up with lots of great ideas of things we can do in our local area to help our environment, from appropriate tree planting, wildflowers for pollinators, litter picks and poster campaigns to speaking with our local businesses to ask them to make sustainable choices at the heart of their operations.
The enthusiasm for the project is great and we now just need to secure some funding to help us to run the scheme effectively. The money raised will help fund the purchase of saplings and wildflower seeds, as well as materials for 'marketing' campaigns run by the children. It will also fund equipment for keeping our local area clean, including litter pickers and high viz jackets for the kids when on clean-ups.
Please help us to reach our target and make this scheme successful - there is such an appetite there from our young people to try to conserve our local environment and this is something we really want to foster. Thank you!