South Lakeland District Council: The Climate Emergency Schools Competition

SLDC along with the University of Manchester ran a competition for pupils of primary and secondary schools to design a poster about the climate emergency for our bin lorries, which motivates our communities to take action on climate change. We had over 90 entrants and the two winning designs are now being displayed on our bin lorries across our district. We also hope to hold an exhibition in Kendal Town Hall showing all of the entrants and encouraging people to do their bit to help reduce our carbon emissions.

The challenge

The main challenge was how to spread the message around our district to encourage people to take action to mitigate their impact on the planet and reduce our carbon emissions. We also wanted to reach new people who are not engaging with the climate emergency or are unaware of what they can do.

The solution

The benefits of asking children to design the poster is they can communicate really clearly to a wider audience and people will listen. The benefit of using bin lorries is they travel in to all of our communities and are seen by all of our citizens. This competition has taken around 6 months to run from start to finish, including decisions on coordinating who was involved, communicating the concept (during lockdown), and organising how to decide and announce the winners. Working with the University of Manchester provided excellent resources and help with facilitating prizes and judges.

The impact

This has been excellent for collaboration between the council, the schools, university and local communities.

Lessons learned

Make sure you think about the communications plan at the start and make sure the winners are not due to be announced during the pre-election period.