All posts by Angela Gerrard

Great Big Green Week 2021

This Autumn, world leaders will meet in Glasgow for COP26, the UN  Climate Change Conference. This summit is a crunch point for tackling climate change, countries will need to agree and meet highly ambitious targets to reduce Greenhouse gases.

Ahead of this event, communities across the UK are holding their own Great Big Green Week fringe festivals, stepping up their actions to reduce emissions and urging world leaders to ‘step up’ too.

CEYOU initially registered the Pontypridd Green Week expecting to run a single multiplier event for the project combined with a social media campaign throughout the week. But the people of Pontypridd, home of CEYOU coordinators Pontydysgu, knew we could do better than that! Now we have partnered with Climate.Cymru and the local branch of Friends of the Earth and we are organsing what is shaping up to be a bumper week of activities, workshops, arts, presentations and celebrations.

Pontypridd Green Week even has its own poet in residence, Rufus Mufasa, former Future Generations Act Poet in Residence for Wales and a  leading artist in promoting and mentoring young voices.

The week kicks of with a community fancy dress litter-pick followed by drop-in engagement sessions, presentation of the CEYOU products, an upcycled art project, a recycled fashion show, documentary film screening, and CEYOU youth forum session. On day two, members of the youth forum have been invited by Mick Antoniw MS to visit the Senedd, (theWelsh Parliament).

During the week there will be social media challenges, an eco book club and shop window displays to entertain and engage passers by. CEYOU will also hold a series of webinars on youth engagement with circular economy initiatives.

At the end of the week we have a Repair Cafe, introduction to permaculture and a plenary session with  local councillor and assembly member, Heledd Fychan.

Throughout the build-up to Pontypridd Green Week local people have been contributing ideas to create a bill of rights for the Taff, the river flowing through the heart of the town. These rights, such as ‘The right to be free from litter’ will be incorporated into a handmade scroll and presented during a celebration of the rights of the river.

CEYOU has circulated info packs to local schools and businesses. They are also available to download.

For more info please follow the Pontypridd Green Week Facebook page.

Youth Circular Economy Initiatives are Growing in Pontypridd

In 2019, young people and students from Europe and all over the world began to take to the streets to demand action to halt environmental and climate change. On one day of action in March organisers said there were more than 2,000 protests in 125 countries. The student movement was inspired by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, now nominated for a Nobel Prize two years in a row, who kicked off a global movement after she sat outside Swedish parliament every Friday beginning last August. Young people have successfully elevated the need for the environment to be included in the school curriculum.
The development of the circular economy is seen as central to reducing damage to the environment and developing positive change. In 2015 the European Commission adopted an action plan to help accelerate Europe’s transition towards a circular economy, boost global competitiveness, promote sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs. The Welsh Government is currently reviewing the responses to its 2020 consultation on circular economy which includes their ambition to become world leaders in zero waste, low carbon and sharing resources fairly.
The Circular Economy for Youth or CEYOU project started at the end of 2019 in the midst of climate strikes and extinction rebellion protests. Our aim, to promote circular economy initiatives to young people as a proactive way of combating the pressing issues of climate change and sustainability.
The project is active in North Macedonia, Greece, Italy, Belgium, France and Wales and despite current restrictions around physical meetings has been successful in supporting and initiating a number of initiatives.
In Italy a series of online Hackathons were held where youth participants worked on ideas for a circular economy business with the best ideas being taken forward for development and a prize awarded to the winning team.
In Wales a younger group of environmental activists participated in online workshops to produce a guide for ‘Staying Green in Quarantine’. The same group reconvened via Zoom a few more times to work with local artists on the themes of biodiversity, biomimicry, and the future, the results of which are now part of the online exhibition Pontypridd 2120. The youngsters were still keen to do more and had suggested growing their own food and making their own compost as part of the staying green guide, so CEYOU in partnership with Pontypridd Friends of the Earth launched Grow Pontypridd, to support and encourage people to grow and share edible produce. With small contributions from both the Town Council and CEYOU to get started, CEYOU’s coordinators Pontydysgu were able to apply for funding from InterlinkRCT. The project has now delivered around 50 home grow veg packs to local residents who would not otherwise be able to get started growing veg due to the financial implications or because of isolating due to covid19. Many of the packs were delivered to residents’ doors by the kind volunteers at the local food bank, others were dropped for collection at community centres.To make the packs, members of the community donated seeds, seedlings and pots and the project provided compost, growing instructions and a welcome note. Our team of youth volunteers made up packs and added in hand drawn pictures and notes.The adults dealt with the tricker issues of coordination, pickups and deliveries.Following the initial success the local council donated compost from their green waste recycling.The social media publicity prompted a local community centre to contact us asking for advice on how to turn their disused raised beds into a community vegetable garden and so yet another initiative began, Little Garden, a family orientated community garden with a long term plan to become a food coop.In parallel to the growing projects CEYOU is also arranging an online youth forum on Circular Economy at which young people from Pontypridd will be able to discuss the pressing issues of post Covid19 recovery and formulate an action plan alongside local government representatives from both Westminster and the Senedd. More information to follow!
Central to CEYOU is the bringing together of youth organisations and networks, together with Circular Economy associations at European, regional and municipal levels including local government. The aim is not only to exchange initiatives and best practice but to establish a permanent forum for dialogue including around policy and practice. Such goals will develop the capacities of all participant organisations and build the foundation for longer term collaboration in this area. For more information contact the CEYOU project coordinator angela [dot] gerrard [at] gmail [dot] com or check our facebook and website.

Ponty’s Young Online Activists

Last week CEYOU hosted the first online meeting for the Youth branch of Pontypridd Young Friends of the Earth.

The group have been very active over the past year attending Fridays for Future School Strikes and organising a hustings for local parliamentary candidates to discuss their views and policies relating to Climate Change.

Everyday life has changed significantly in a short space of time. Supermarket restrictions and limiting our time out of the house may lead to an increase in purchasing products wrapped in plastic and relying on takeaways in plastic tubs, combine this with reduced waste management and recycling services and its easy to fall into bad habits.

Their task for our Youth Forum this week was to come up with a top ten tips for staying green during the Covid19 quarantine and lockdown period.

The group were full of ideas for the lockdown from planning your ideal garden in Minecraft to redecorating your home for a change of scenery to leaving chalk messages of hope and positivity on the pavements.

Here are the top 10 which, in true Circular Economy style you are free to use, reuse and repurpose but please give attribution to and YoungFOEPontypridd.


Hackathon will go ahead despite Covid19

Despite the Coronavirus emergency, the Hackathon will go ahead and starts on the web on Monday 23 March.

Two successive dates will follow, always via web, where European technicians and Italian realities will intervene in the field of circular economy.

Numerous young people who have joined the initiative eager to contribute to activate projects aimed at reducing waste, food waste and improving the extension of the life span of goods. During a difficult and extremely delicate time young people are always in the front row for taking care of the planet.

Ethics in a crisis

The hometown of our coordinators, Pontypridd, made international news this week as Storm Dennis hit, bursting the banks of the river Taff and devastating homes and businesses.

Many items were thrown straight into skips for fear of contamination with sewerage water but it was good to see representatives from the local repair cafe salvaging some of the harder to recycle items, electrical cables and sockets made of mixed materials to be disinfected, dried out and hopefully reused.

Hackathon to foster youth participation in the circular economy

The CEYOU project will challenge youth in San Giuseppe Vesuviano, Italy, to get creative and engage with circular economy during an innovative hackathon. Participants, who include associations, informal groups and individuals between 18 and 30 years old, will have two days to jointly develop ideas, activities and workshops to foster circular economy in four municipalities (Palma Campania, San Gennaro Vesuviano, San Giuseppe Vesuviano and Striano), covering three key sectors: food waste reduction, waste prevention and product life extension.

The hackathon will take place on 9 March and 3 April 2020. It is organised by UCSA as part of a series of activities of the CEYOU project to foster youth participation and engagement with circular economy. The innovative circular economy services created by the hackathon’s participants will be implemented in a second stage in the targeted territories either by UCSA directly or by a third party.

For more information and registration for the hackathon, please visit the following page (in Italian)

Up and running

The whole Ceyou partnership met face to face for the first time in Athens in January 2020. During the two day meeting they consolidated plans for local youth forums where young people could engage in a dialogue around circular economy and environmental issues with policy makers, business owners and other relevant actors. Over the coming months there will be a series of hackathons, webinars, workshops, round-table events and more.

CE youth forums

The partnership is currently developing guidelines for the establishment of permanent forums for dialogue between youth organisations and local authorities to promote circular economy practices.

If you are interested in contributing to the guidelines or setting up a local youth forum, please get in touch.