Three East Birmingham schools are celebrating their success at the first Hodge Hill Earthshot competition!

Inspired by Prince William’s international Earthshot Prize to generate the best ideas to tackle climate change and organised by local MP, Liam Byrne, the two hundred Year 5 and Year 6 pupils from fourteen primary schools across Hodge Hill, pitched their ideas on stage at Millennium Point on 19th June, after spending the past six months researching local environmental problems and refining solutions.

The audience was treated to their best pitches, with wide-ranging and ambitious ideas – from improving air quality to fighting fatbergs. The children were competing for prize money as well as the glory, with £2,500 for first prize; £1,500 for second and £1,000 for third, donated by Severn Trent.

Lea Forest won First Prize with their Spartacus Canal Sweeper – a small, automated boat designed to clean plastics from Birmingham’s thousands of miles of canals. Teacher, Sarah Cunningham, said:

“Our pupils at Lea Forest are absolutely delighted to win the Earthshot Challenge and see their dreams come true.”

Second Prize went to Alston’s ‘The A to Z of Nurturing Nature’ – a downloadable guide to cherishing and supporting nature, written by children for children. Brownmead was awarded Third Prize for ‘Repair Our Air’ – a campaign to encourage parents to walk, not drive, their kids to school that’s already proved to have demonstrable results.

Tyseley Energy Park, was a partner of the Hodge Hill Earthshot Prize. TEP director of property, David Horsfall, said:

“The calibre of presentations was exceptional. The students all showed an impressive understanding of their subject areas, and the creativity and diversity of thinking was really exceptional.

“It was an honour to be on the judging panel; the final decision was extremely difficult for all involved and required the full 30 minutes allocated. It was a closely run contest and it was great to see the top three prize winners coming up with solutions that are capable of having an enormous impact and leaving a lasting legacy.”

Hodge Hill MP, Liam Byrne MP, said:

“We developed this idea because as I visited schools in the area, I found more and more pupils were establishing eco-councils – and I wanted to create a platform for everyone to see the passion and inventiveness that I saw at our schools. And our young people didn’t disappoint. Their practical ideas will genuinely make a difference to a cleaner, greener and more sustainable city.

“And frankly as the city that pioneered the Industrial Revolution, we’ve got a special responsibility to now lead the green revolution.”
Other community supporters were Millennium Point, World’s Largest Lesson, Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust and Birmingham City Council.