More than 1,750 young people from across England and Wales have joined forces to help tackle environmental sustainability at their football clubs and in their communities, as part of this year’s Premier League Inspires Challenge.
The Challenge is one element of the Premier League Inspires programme, which clubs run on a weekly basis to support 11–25-year-olds who are at risk of not reaching their potential as they move through the education system and early adulthood.
The Premier League Inspires Challenge empowers participants to take on a social action project and make a difference to the world around them.
This season, young people were tasked with considering what environmental sustainability challenges football clubs might face.
Blackpool FC Community Trust representatives developed a project to reuse and recycle single use plastics cups gathered at the stadium and use them as planters in a reclaimed part of their school garden. The project took place over the course of 3 months and required the group to work with members of Blackpool FC and relevant school staff to bring their project to life. When complete the garden now houses over 100 single use cup planters, erected on reclaimed plastic pipe, housing a selection of seasonal plants and flowers. The hope is this will support the local eco systems and wildlife.
When asked if they would recommend the PL Inspires programme to next year’s cohort, Toni, a PL Inspires participant said:
“100% because it gets you to share ideas, talk to people you wouldn’t normally and be part of a team”.
Having come up with their environmental social action ideas, participants joined one of five regional celebration events taking place at football clubs across the country, where they shared details of their activity with teams of their peers representing 44 clubs from across the Premier League and the English Football League.
The BFCCT Premier League Inspires Challenge team also explored the positive work Blackpool FC is already doing to tackle climate change, including changes in place to make sure all concourse food and drink containers and utensils are environmentally friendly. Employed for the 2023-24 season. The club continues to improve its score within the environment rankings amongst EFL clubs and is committed to improving this further in the coming years.
The Premier League became a signatory of the UN Sports for Climate Action framework in 2021 and aims to reduce its own emissions by 50% before 2030 and achieve net- zero emissions by 2040, in line with the 1.5 degrees global warming limit of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Premier League Head of Sustainability, Will Hutton, said:
“Environmental sustainability is of great importance to the Premier League and our clubs, and we recognise the need to take action on climate change.
“We must all play our part in this important issue, and through the Premier League Inspires Challenge young people have come up with some brilliant ideas to help build upon the great work already under way at clubs. I hope these young people can continue to build on these ideas to help drive positive environmental sustainability action in school, at home and in their communities.”
Launched in 2019, Premier League Inspires creates life-changing opportunities for young people who have been identified by their schools as needing extra support to engage with activities, helping them to develop the personal skills and positive attitudes needed to succeed in life.
Using the power of football, the programme helps to prepare young people for further education and employment through a series of face-to-face mentoring sessions, workshops and social-action projects.
BFCCT began its Premier League Inspires delivery in November and since then has supported young people through 890 hours of collective delivery to 73 pupils across five local high schools.
This season, 44 professional football club community organisations across the Premier League and English Football League are delivering Premier League Inspires sessions at their stadiums, in local schools and at alternative educational settings, with partnership support from the Professional Footballers’ Association.
More than 25,300 young people from across England and Wales have received more than 104,00 hours of targeted support through the programme to date.
To find out more, please visit premierleague.com