Our Planet Matters for Forge Students

The last week of term in 2021 saw year 7 and year 8 students from Forge’s Our Planet Matters (OPM) group running two events.

The first event was run in the canteen, during lunch and involved the group holding a sale of fidgets, mindfulness colouring books and sketch pads to fundraise for the charity Mind. This event was designed by Liam, Izzie and Izzy from year 7. They chose to sell these items since they wanted to support the mental health of students at Forge, while at the same time fundraising for a mental health charity.

Michael Gill, Head of Year 7, who supervised the event said: "The level of maturity and enthusiasm shown by the group was highly impressive. They were well prepared, ready to share what they had learned and provided a positive, mindful space for all pupils, it was a very popular stall. A great team, a great success."

By the end of lunch, the group had sold out and raised a total of £31 for Mind. Huge congratulations to the students from OPM for organising, and all the students who came by and bought some de-stressing products to support Mind. There will be more activities from this group in the new year.

The second event was a litter picking competition that ran over both Tuesday and Wednesday lunchtimes and was focused on improving the school environment while also increasing student awareness of the harmful impact of littering. The students responsible for this project (Rosie, Lucy, George, Indie and Courtney from year 8) wanted to run the litter picks as a competition between year 7 and year 8 to see which group could collect the most litter. Year 7 did their pick on Tuesday and year 8 on Wednesday. Both sessions went really well, with staff reporting that all the students involved worked really hard to collect as much litter as possible.

Rachel McCarthy, director of work related learning at Forge who supervised the litter picks, said: "The litter picking events both for year 7 and 8 went extremely well. The pupils that volunteered to take part arrived at the start of the event, full of enthusiasm and were very keen to do a good job. They worked in pairs and groups and each team was issued with a litter picker, biodegradable plastic gloves, a black bag for waste that needed to be thrown away and a green biodegradable bag for recyclable waste that could be used for the art installation in the new year. By the end of the litter picking sessions over the two days, a total of 9 black bags full of rubbish and 7 bags of recyclable waste was collected from around the school site. Other pupils witnessing the event also wanted to get involved. We will now be holding weekly litter picks, where pupils can help to keep the school site litter-free.

The Our Planet Matters group will review the quantities of litter collected and the winning year group will be announced shortly and will receive a prize. Well done to all students who participated from both year groups.

The group have been planning the events for a couple of months, with the aim of benefitting the school, wider world, and also inspiring other students to take positive action for their school and communities. The external programme through which these events were organised is called Transform Our World, and is run by the charity Global Action Plan.