Lancashire school awarded by IKEA for sustainability project

A school in Lancashire has been announced as one of the four winners of an IKEA competition that focuses on sustainability.

Saint Christopher’s C of E High School in Accrington would love to build a pre-loved uniform swap shop and refill station for cleaning products. Retail giant IKEA will provide products and co-worker expertise to bring the vision to life as part of its ‘Let’s Go Zero’ competition.

St Christopher’s C of E High School’s pre-loved uniform swap shop would provide a space where pre-loved uniforms and prom dresses can be donated and collected, and up cycled while supporting families and helping to change attitudes around pre-loved items.

The refill station will help reduce plastic usage and costs among families.

Other schools and their ideas included:

– East Barnet Secondary School, London – An outdoor classroom, allotment, and composting area for hands-on learning and sustainable projects.

– Fixby Junior Infant School, Huddersfield – A shop where items like seedlings and chicken eggs can be purchased or swapped by families and the local community, reducing food waste and raising funds for the school.

– Lochfield Primary School, Paisley – A community garden transformed from part of the school grounds with an allotment and composting area, and an outdoor learning space.

IKEA will give the schools products (up to the value of £2,000 for each project), solutions and sustainable living expertise, engaging young people on the topic of the environment, while providing a space for hands-on, outdoor learning, with opportunities for community outreach and support.

IKEA UK is working in partnership with the Let’s Go Zero campaign, coordinated by climate solutions charity Ashden and including a coalition of environmental NGOs, which calls on all UK schools to become zero carbon by 2030. 

The competition encourages teachers, nursery children, primary and secondary pupils to sign up and do their bit to reduce carbon emissions.

It is the second year IKEA has run the competition in partnership with Let’s Go Zero. More than 2,100 schools, colleges and nurseries have signed up to Let’s Go Zero since the initiative launched in November 2020, collectively educating over a million children and young people across the UK.

This year’s competition saw a rise in applications for the creation of dedicated uniform swap shops, with 18% of schools looking for IKEA’s support with upcycling programmes, which look to rehome pre-loved items such as out-grown uniforms, prom dresses, Christmas jumpers and more.

More schools are looking to create outdoor learning areas – climbing from 16% in 2022 to 25% in 2023 – with benefits for both the environment and student health and wellbeing. A quarter of entries in 2023 also incorporated ideas for plant and vegetable growing and compost areas.

Marsha Smith, deputy country retail manager at IKEA UK and Ireland, says:“This year’s competition has been a great success. It’s fantastic to see so many young people engaging with this initiative and learning more about simple but effective ways we can all help the environment.

“The entries we received demonstrate that children and young people across the UK are very aware of the importance of sustainability, recycling, upcycling and reducing waste. 

“What’s great about this initiative is that it inspires hands-on, outdoor learning and resourcefulness whilst also supporting families and enriching local communities. That’s something we’re passionate about at IKEA and we look forward to supporting the schools as part of this process.”

Alex Green, schools lead at Let’s Go Zero says“We are delighted to be working with IKEA UK to help support UK schools working to be zero carbon. We have had an amazing response to the competition – really showing the enthusiasm and demand in school for climate action. 

“We look forward to working with the winning schools and helping bring their sustainable ideas to life.”

According to Let’s Go Zero, schools will play a critical role in helping the UK cut carbon emission levels, with the power to prevent 625,000 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.

To sign up and support the campaign, you can head over to Let’s Go Zero’s website here.

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