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Green Influencers

Voluntary Action North East Lincolnshire (VANEL) received funding in 2021 to support the employment of a ‘Green Mentor’ who will enable young people to lead the way as ‘Green Influencers’ on social action projects in their communities.

The project began January 2021 and will run throughout 2021 and 2022.  The lead contact is Samantha Smith at VANEL who can be contacted for further information or to get involved.

Read on for plenty of information about the scheme.

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There is plenty of background information about the national Green Influencers programme; about the funders – the Ernest Cook Trust, the National Lottery Community Fund and Department of Culture, Media & Sport and the #iwill Fund here. Read the original press release here.

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Remember that anyone interested in joining the Green Influencers Scheme should contact Sam Smith by email, or telephone: 07742 274669

Listen to a recent interview on Radio Humberside about NEL Green Influencers here.


Meet the Groups

Information about each of the North East Lincolnshire Green Influencers Groups can be found on their group pages below. Some are active groups; some are paused; some are still forming. These pages just give you an idea of what the groups are up to. If you want to find out more or to connect with a group, please contact Sam.

Beacon Eco-Committee – Beacon Academy
Reynolds Rangers – Cleethorpes Reynolds Children’s Centre (coming soon)
Next Generation – Duke of York Gardens
Littlecoates Leavers – Littlecoates Primary Academy
Eco-Macs – Macaulay Primary Academy
Eco-Lunch Groups – Ormiston South Parade Academy
Sidney Park Sorters – Sidney Park
Eco-Scouts – West Grimsby Scouts (coming soon)

About the Green Influencers Project for North East Lincolnshire

The pioneering Green Influencers Scheme is a project match-funded through the #iwill Fund which is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and Department of Culture, Media & Sport which are each investing £25million seed funding to support young people to access high-quality social action opportunities.

Green Influencers aged from 10 to 14-years-old will spring up across North East Lincolnshire after Voluntary Action North East Lincolnshire was among 36 host organisations awarded grants to support the employment of 40 Green Mentor posts.

Together they will turn words into action with a wide range of measures to protect and enhance the local environment and tackle climate change.

Jenny Hodson, who was the founding Green Mentor at VANEL, said:

“We were delighted to receive the funding from The Ernest Cook Trust which will enable us to help young people from across North East Lincolnshire to support their communities with environmental projects.

“We’re delighted to be a host organisation for the Green Influencers Scheme which is being rolled out across England and we’re excited about the future because we know this will make a real difference to our local communities.

“What is really special about Green Influencers’ Scheme is that it will give young people a chance to lead the way, help, encourage and support each other and offer the chance to learn through hands-on outdoor activities.

“We’re sure that young people across our area will quickly engage with us and join the scheme so we can work together to make sure it has a really positive impact on our communities.”

Over the next two years, under the Green Influencers Scheme, The Ernest Cook Trust will pay VANEL annually to fund the Green Mentor post to kick-start the programme and help identify further financial support to ensure they instigate lasting change right across their communities.

The young environmental activists will be at the forefront of youth social action projects that will benefit schools and communities across England after The Ernest Cook Trust awarded grants worth a total of £720,000 to host organisations.

Dr Victoria Edwards OBE, Chief Executive of The Ernest Cook Trust, said:

“Inspired by teenagers like Greta Thunberg, young people across England have been leading the climate change and wildlife crisis debate.

“The Ernest Cook Trust’s new funding programme will empower young people in North East Lincolnshire to follow in Greta’s footsteps and positively engage in environmental social action projects.

“The pandemic has a huge impact on the communities the Trust supports but by campaigning, fundraising and volunteering, the Green Influencers will create long-lasting benefits for everyone.”

The scheme is being rolled out nationwide following successful pilot schemes at Action for Conservation in London, East Riding Voluntary Action Services in East Riding of Yorkshire, Groundwork Greater Manchester, Groundwork Northamptonshire and Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.

The initiative also gives participants a valuable opportunity to develop leadership skills. Nine people aged 14 to 20 are members of the Scheme’s Youth Advisory Board. They have steered strategic decision-making and will help select grant awards for Green Influencers projects.

Anyone interested in joining the Green Influencers Scheme should contact Sam Smith by email: or telephone: 07742 274669

For information about the Green Influencers Scheme visit The Ernest Cook Trust website or email

Background Information

The National Green Influencers Scheme

The mission of the Green Influencers Scheme is to assist young people to create deep, lasting and meaningful connections with the natural environment. Through this scheme young people will learn and build skills which will help them contribute to the local community through environmental action.

The scheme was developed by The Ernest Cook Trust in 2019 as a match- funded project with #iwill. Both #iwill and The Ernest Cook Trust will provide £1.5million resulting in a total of £3million to be spent over 3 years on youth environmental action.

The Ernest Cook Trust is providing grants to registered charities and non-profit organisations across England to employ Green Mentors to help young people between the ages of 10-14 years (Green Influencers) to create environmental projects in local schools, youth groups and communities.

The Ernest Cook Trust

The Ernest Cook Trust offers children and young people, their families and communities, the chance to learn from the land through hands on outdoor learning activities.

The Ernest Cook Trust is a charity limited by guarantee with the sole charitable objective of education.

The Trust places education at its very heart by offering children and young people a chance to connect with nature and to take action on the environment in a meaningful and positive way.

The Trust was founded by Ernest Cook, a wealthy landowner committed to ensuring his land would benefit future generations. Before his death in 1955, he placed his estates in trust. We have seen many changes to the landscape and our understanding of our impact on it, but the Trust’s work remains rooted in its founder’s love of the countryside and its potential to shape lives and learning.

The Trust awards around £2m per year in grants based on relevance and impact against organisational objectives. Grants are given to schools or charitable organisations for activities in the UK with a particular focus on areas where there are fewer opportunities to experience the outdoors.

#iwill Fund

The #iwill Fund is made possible thanks to £50million joint investment from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to support young people to access high quality social action opportunities.

The #iwill Fund brings together a group of organisations who all contribute funding to embed meaningful social action into the lives of young people.

The #iwill Fund supports the aims of the #iwill campaign – to make involvement in social action a part of life for young people, by recognising the benefit for both young people and their communities.

By bringing together funders from across different sectors and by making sure that young people have a say in where the funding goes – the #iwill Fund is taking a collaborative approach.

#iwill campaign

The #iwill campaign is a collective effort involving over 900 partners from across the public, voluntary, education and business sectors with a vision to make meaningful social action part of life for 10- to 20-year olds by the year 2020, wherever they live and whatever their background.

The #iwill campaign was launched in 2013 with cross-party and multi-sector support after research into how the business, education, public and voluntary sectors could support young people to engage in social action. The campaign is coordinated by Step Up To Serve, a charity registered in England & Wales (no. 1154588).

HRH The Prince of Wales is Patron of Step Up To Serve and the #iwill campaign. For more information, visit and follow @iwill_campaign

The National Lottery Community Fund

We are the largest community funder in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people.

We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone.

We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life

Other recipients of Green Influencers funding

Action for Conservation (London), Action for Conservation (Manchester), Action for Conservation (Bristol), Ambition, Aspire, Achieve (Newham, London), Centre for Sustainable Energy (Bristol), Child Dynamix (Hull), East Riding Voluntary Action Services (Hull), ecoACTIVE (Hackney, London), Endeavour Training Limited (Sheffield, Yorkshire and the Humber), Field Studies Council (Shropshire), Friends of St Nicholas Fields (York), Global Action Plan (London), Global Generation (Islington/Southwark, London), Green Light Trust (Bury St Edmunds), Green Synergy (Lincoln), Groundwork Cheshire Lancashire and Merseyside, Groundwork Greater Manchester, Groundwork North East and Cumbria, Groundwork Northampton, Groundwork South Devon, Handsworth Association of Schools (Birmingham), OrganicLea CIC (Walthamstow, London), SOS-UK, The Children’s Foundation (Newcastle), The Oaklea Trust (Kendal,  Cumbria), The Prospects Foundation (Accrington, Lancashire), Voluntary Action North East Lincolnshire, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Shropshire Wildlife Trust, Somerset Wildlife Trust, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, Wilderness Foundation (Chelmsford), Woodcraft Folk (Leeds), Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, Young Gloucestershire, Youth Work Unit Yorkshire and the Humber.