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MP Rayner backs competition for pupils to speak at COP26

Ashton and Failsworth MP Angela Rayner.

Ashton and Failsworth MP Angela Rayner is urging pupils in schools across her constituency to enter National Grid's 'Voices for a Green Future' competition to win the chance to make a speech to world leaders at COP26.

The UK is set to host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November.

The conference will be a significant opportunity for international leaders to ramp up their commitment to protect the planet with over 30,000 delegates, including politicians, diplomats, campaigners and experts attending to make global progress on climate change.

MP Rayner, who is also Labour’s Deputy Leader, says she's keen for children from Ashton, Droylsden and Failsworth to have their voices heard at the conference.

She said: “Pupils right across my constituency are concerned about the future of our planet, but they are also full of brilliant ideas about how to ensure we’re helping the UK reach its climate change targets. I’m really keen that they have an opportunity to share their ideas, big or small – they could inspire the solutions that help to tackle climate change.

“This is a great opportunity for the young people living in Ashton, Droylsden and Failsworth to take their ideas to the world’s leaders at COP26. Not only will the winners be given the platform to digitally share their vision for a greener future, but they will win grants for their school, helping get additional resources and learning opportunities for all their fellow classmates.

“It’s fantastic to see National Grid extending this opportunity to pupils in my constituency and I wish everyone the best of luck.”

The competition will see four school pupils win the opportunity to share their hopes for a greener world in a speech that will be premiered digitally at COP26. The four winners will also win STEM related science toys, as well as a £5,000 STEM grant for their school.

To compete, primary and secondary school students, aged 7-15 years, need to submit 200 words sharing their ideas on what they would do to protect the planet if they were in charge of the country. A shortlist of 10 entrants will be reviewed by a judging panel, including Countryfile TV presenter Helen Skelton.

Ahead of the competition launch, National Grid commissioned new research which revealed that 80 per cent of children aged 7-16 believe it is their responsibility to look after the environment, with over half (54 per cent) believing that their eco-friendly actions can make a difference to climate change.

Sixty-one per cent of respondents also said they feel most passionate about the environment, with a third of children saying they have ideas about how to tackle climate change that grown-ups aren’t currently doing.

David Wright, Chief Engineer of National Grid, and a judge for the competition, said: “Climate change impacts us all, but it is our children’s futures that will be most affected by the decisions we make today so it’s vital that their voices are heard. They have a strong understanding of the causes of climate change such as the fuel we put into our cars or the type of energy we use to heat our homes and schools.

"And as National Grid is at the centre of efforts to get Great Britain to net zero, I’m excited to hear from young people all over the country – they have inspiring ideas and they really can be the energy problem-solvers of tomorrow.”

For further information on the ‘Voices for a Green Future’ competition, visit www.nationalgrid.com/voicesforagreenfuture

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