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Blue Influencers Scheme

Inspiring young people to make a difference in their coastal communities
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What is the Blue Influencers Scheme?

Are you a teacher, youth-worker, sports coach or community leader? SOS-UK are looking for young people aged 10-14 to become Blue Influencers! With the assistance of Blue Mentors, they will design and run their own environmental social action projects in your schools, youth groups and communities.

The mission of the Blue Influencer Scheme is to empower young individuals to cultivate profound, enduring and meaningful connections with their local blue spaces. Through this scheme, young people will learn and develop new skills that enable them to inspire their peers, engage with their families and contribute to their local communities.

This three year scheme was developed by The Ernest Cook Trust as a match-funded project with the #iwill Fund. The #iwill Fund is made possible thanks to £66M joint investment from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to support young people to access high quality social action.

What will the scheme achieve?

The Blue Influencers Scheme has been developed in response to environmental concerns raised by young people living in coastal, river and estuary communities. These areas are likely to be severely affected by climate change and are experiencing a variety of challenges for people, economies and local industry.

The degree to which a person feels connected to nature is linked to their wellbeing, and to their environmental behaviours*. However, evidence suggests that despite living in proximity to the ocean, many deprived coastal communities do not feel welcome in these blue spaces or connected to their immediate environments and this is particularly significant in people aged 10-14 – at an age that is already a difficult period of transition.

The Blue Influencers Scheme will provide opportunities for young people to re-connect and create deep, lasting, meaningful connections with the natural world and their communities via their local blue spaces. It will empower young people to continue their actions in the long term, in face of the climate and ecological emergency before them. The concept is represented in the Influence Hill below.

A graphic showing a hill with the caption “The Influence Hill. Harnessing the power of peer-to-peer education and engagement to make a real difference to our environment”. There are numbered people on the hill: the first is standing at the bottom; the second has a lightbulb above their head and is climbing; the third is higher and is helping others; and the fourth is at the summit holding the world.

What will Blue Influencers do?

Young people will be at the forefront of designing, delivering and promoting their own environmental projects. As a youth social action scheme this could include elements of volunteering, fundraising, campaigning or supporting peers, but projects can be anything they like – for example, creating a coastal clean-up campaign. The Blue Influencers will be supported by a Blue Mentor from SOS-UK helping them to make connections with local organisations and secure further funding from The Ernest Cook Trust in order to bring their social action projects to life.

Blue Influencers will ideally be young people whose voices have not previously been heard, whether due a lack of confidence, access to funding, or opportunity to engage with the environment.

What led to this?

From 2021 - 2023, SOS-UK took part in the Blue Influencers Scheme's predecessor, the Green Influencers Scheme. Green Mentors at SOS-UK collectively engaged over 2000 people in youth social action, mostly in disadvantaged areas, supporting young people to gain confidence, learn new skills such as project management and enjoy new outdoor learning experiences. 

In total 121 Green Influencers took part in youth social action across Southampton and over 100 in Norfolk, each Influencer spending an average of almost 10 hours connecting with nature and leading on climate action. Some examples of the projects are detailed below.

The Green Influencer newspaper with Norfolk Heritage Centre

History Hunters at the Norfolk Heritage Centre have created a tabloid newspaper called The Green Influencer, written from their perspective and highlighting climate issues that matter to them. Green Influencers interviewed local individuals responding to the climate emergency, designed meme illustrations and worked with Ark to design the layout and aesthetic of the newspaper. 1000 copies have been shared with Norfolk libraries, helping inspire collective climate action and reaching diverse communities around the county.

A photo of people sitting reading the 'Green Influencer' newspaper

Team GreenPhone - The Polygon School’s repair shop

Green Influencers at the Polygon School are repairing smartphones and tablets to address the issue of electronic waste as well making tech more affordable for their community. The group chose to do this because they think it is unfair that phones need to be replaced so often, and that children are involved in the mining of the raw materials. After receiving basic training from an electrician at a local repair café, the group achieved a Level 1 certification in phone repair.

A graphic showing a person dressed in an inflatable green suit pointing at the viewer, reading 'Team GreenPhone'

How do I get involved?

SOS-UK are hosting a Blue Mentor as part of the Blue Influencers Scheme. They are based in Bristol. They will be recruiting Blue Influencers within and around the area over the next three years. Grants will be available to each group to help to make their ideas happen. If you would like to give young people from your school, youth club or organisation the opportunity to become a Blue Influencer, please get in touch with us:

Sign up for 2024/2025

If you would like to give young people from your school, youth club or organisation the opportunity to become a Blue Influencer, please get in touch with Mariana Fidalgo.