Eco Group

What is Eco Group?

St Christopher's has been supporting the environment for well over 16 years, through their well-established Eco Group.

A group of nationally recognised pupils of all ages and various teachers, led by Director of Sustainability, Mrs. Litherland. We have been part of the Eco-Schools program for 15 years, as an ambassador school, we are now on our 5th Green Flag, with distinction. Shortlisted as the TES school awards ‘Most Sustainable School’ in 2011 and 2018.

Follow our activities on our Twitter page by following this link.


Beyond the school gates

At St Christopher’s, we pride ourselves on working for others, be it growing produce for the school kitchen, or the community, providing soup for homeless people, looking after our own environment, from planting trees we will never live to see fully mature, to cleaning up the local area or collecting ‘Bags of Love’ for the local homeless.

We also chair both the Hyndburn Eco Cluster Group which is 15 years old and the Lancashire Sustainable Education Forum. Both groups meet termly sharing ideas/resources between the local schools and environmental providers and NGOs. All schools are welcome, and we’ve supported the set-up of various other cluster groups across the country. We represent local schools on the recently established Hyndburn Bourgh council's Net Zero Working Group. We have recently taken on the role of lead NW school for UKSSN.


Our pupils often help out at other schools.

From our first community initiative of Pledge 4 Veg, back in 2009, we have gone from strength to strength. Check out our Youtube playlist showing some of our past activities.

Since then, we have had two homeless sleep-outs with Years 10-13, including a multi-award-winning young enterprise company 'Supporting the Streets'. Both campaigns lead to lead students Chloe and Amelia being nominated by Dr Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots. for their outstanding commitment to the environment, animals and humanity. Both received the Diana, Princess of Wales awards for their outstanding commitment to the environment, animals and humanity.

This year we need to look inward and support our need for clean, renewable energy to match our school ethos. The students have campaigned for solar tirelessly and have even designed their own arrays of solar panels in technology lessons. We aren't in a financial position to afford these, so we are looking for crowd funding to ensure we can start this journey. The school has always used renewables when large building projects have been taken on. Ground source heat pumps heat the Sixth Form Building and air-source heat pumps are used in the Coates Building. We are pleased to work alongside Solar for Schools to make our pupils ideas real. We hope we can inspire others to make the change to renewable energy. It would save us 55 tonnes of carbon each year as well as a significant amount of money!

By involving the children every step of the way, we hope they will learn and understand more about sustainable energy, both for now and in their own future careers.

Our students are booked to lead a session on the Moving forward with Sustainability CPD course at the Sustainability Learning Conference NW. We are lead partners alongside Sustainability Learning CIC. Find out more here.

In October 2022 they presented their passion for sustainability at the NGA annual meeting in Birmingham, in front of hundreds of governors.

The most recent national award was the Department for Education Sustainability award at the 2021 Education Estates Conference. Featuring as a case study in their Environmental sustainability: A Whole School Approach (nga.org.uk)


Our Eco Captains

Coming soon!


Looking Back

GCSE Natural History consultation - 2020

Only school on the live online GCSE Natural History consultation launch - 4 June 2020. You can read more about this here: GCSE Natural History Consultation.


RHS Plan it Green - December 2019 

We are pleased to announce our amazing year 7 pupils have designed a large sloped garden, in consultation with the entire school community and for use by the school and the community events it runs, throughout the year. Our school has recently celebrated 60 years of comprehensive education. The garden will turn an unused and unloved area to a space both for lesson and recreation but also as a reflection area . We envisage a closer connection with nature, through the use of the garden. Much evidence has been generated showing children's well being and particularly mental health improve by being in a natural outdoor environment. Wildflower planting and permaculture reflecting local heritage varieties will be weaved within the garden. Plants will be tagged and named and where possible the use of the languages taught at school, French, German and Spanish will be added for children to ponder. Bee hives will be situated in a safe location, joining up older wildlife planting around the edge of our school fences. We plan on using as much as possible of reclaimed and reused equipment. The garden will also house an 865 brick retaining wall, reflecting each of the young boys killed on the Somme from the Accrington pals in WW1. Each brick will be salvaged through a local appeal from Accrington NORI bricks (famous). Spare bricks will be crushed to signify the blood shed of war and the need to strive for peace.

(Eco Captain, Amelia, now in the Lancashire Constabulary)


Jane Goodall's 'Roots & Shoots' Awards - 2019 

In March, a group of textiles students and Eco Group members travelled down to London, to take part in Jane Goodall's 'Roots & Shoots' annual conference and awards, which was held at the Barbican Centre. On arrival in London we visited Parliament with our Illuminous ‘radioactive’ nuclear waste barrels, to highlight the need for responsible disposal of this dangerous waste.

There, we presented our eco-friendly outfits in the infamous 'St Christopher's Trashion Show', whilst being judged by Lavia Firth owner and designer at Eco Age, La Vante London and an executive from People Tree. Congratulations to the winners, with her dramatic monochromic black and white ring pull 60s inspired dress, Christina, Amelia who came in second with her dress ‘It’s not all about the money’ and Olivia’s see through plastic pocket jacket, modelled by Katie. The ultimate award, Dr Jane’s personal Outstanding Individual Award was won by our own Amelia Litherland in recognition of leading the Young Enterprise company, as a social enterprise to the best Company and most innovative product in Lancashire and the best customer service in the North West. They helped the homeless by creating Bags of Love, emergency bags containing clean, preloved clothing and various other items. They also made 50 doggy bags for their trusted companions.

(Eco Captain, Megan, now studying a degree at Manchester University)

You can find out more about the 'Roots & Shoots' Awards here.


Jane Goodall's 'Roots & Shoots' Awards - 2018

On Thursday 8th March 2018, a group of textiles students and Eco Group members travelled down to London, to take part in Jane Goodall's 'Roots & Shoots' annual conference and awards, which was held at the Barbican Centre.

There, we presented our eco-friendly outfits in the infamous 'St Christopher's Trashion Show', whilst being judged by both an authentic fashion designer and an executive from People Tree.

Congratulations to the winners, Annabel Clegg (now a Design & Technology teacher herself) with her conspiracy theory inspired neck-piece, Courtney Rawstron who came in second with her piece 'Reading Between the Lines' and Libby Whitham who took third place with her piece, 'Plastic! Not So Fantastic'.

The ultimate award, Dr Jane’s personal Outstanding Individual Award was won by our own Chloe Bonner in recognition of her 'Help 4 Homeless' campaign and a plethera of Eco Group activities.

Whilst in London, we were also treated to dinner at Leon's Restaurant, indulging in a wide range of natural and organic dishes. To top off a fantastic trip, we went to see the West End's number one musical, 'The Lion King', which we all thoroughly enjoyed.

(Leah Hodges & Charlotte Thorpe: both now undergraduates in Fashion).


Brussels

Being invited to speak in European Parliament is one of the proudest moments of my life, it's not something many teenagers can add to their list of achievements and with Brexit looming, not something British teens of the future will be able to do/say either.

It's not just about us though. While in Belgium, we actually had the privilege of speaking with a number of MEPs on the subject of Brexit and how we feel it impacts us as the younger generation. They actually listened to our views and ideas and upon our return, we learned that what we said to them has actually had an impact on Brexit legislation. We may not have had a voice in the referendum, but it is amazing to know that our thoughts are actually valued!

20th November is the day to commemorate the world's children. It was a time to reflect on the many positives of our modern day lives as children, yet to also look to the many challenges that a significant number of children face in our world. The issue of children’s rights is not something that will go away without work and as young people, it is a problem that defines our lives. Children account for nearly half of the world's population living in extreme poverty and it's not just in the poorer countries. One in four children is living in poverty in the world's richest countries. It is not right that any person should have to deal with the hardship of poverty, never mind children such as ourselves that rely deeply on a parent's income. Luckily the Eco team was given an opportunity to make a difference and fight the battle for children's rights: for our rights. This godsend came in the form of a trip to Brussels.

(Chloe, former student now studying Optometry and Evie, former student now studying Physics)

On the 20th November 2017, twenty-one of our eco students went to Brussels. Whilst we were there we had the unique opportunity to talk in the European parliament. We talked to MEP Julie Ward about many issues attached to children rights including fracking, homelessness, education and many more important topics that are all very close to our hearts. We also got to sit in a Brexit meeting, where we had the opportunity to ask many questions about the effects of Brexit on the young people of Britain. Overall this was an amazing once in a lifetime opportunity that we will never forget.

(Philippa Iddon, former student now studying Nursing)


MEEN Conference

The Four Nations conference was an amazing opportunity to listen to people from all around the UK, who have a passion for sustainability and trying to save our planet. It was inspirational to listen to people with passion, but also to see how just crossing a border can make such a difference in how sustainability is introduced throughout the curriculum. As well as getting the chance to listen to others talk, we were given a chance to tell a room full of adults about our experiences of eco within the curriculum. Sadly, in England, it doesn't feature very heavily, so we didn't have too much to share from within the classroom. However, we were able to describe some of the outstanding opportunities that our Eco Group has given us. It was an honour to give all of these people new ideas about how even just a little can make a huge difference when it comes to sustainable development.

(Amy, former Sixth Form student)


Variety Show

Back in December 2018, we hosted a variety show, dedicated Megan Lee in the hall at lunchtime to raise money to buy generic epi pens for our pupils. Millie's Smiles, Maundy Relief and East Lancashire Hospice also benefited. The performers were excellent, having been mentored by Sixth Form performing arts students for a number of weeks leading up to their performances. As ever, the show also included some special appearances from our esteemed staff members. The reviews were astonishing and everyone had a great time.

(Willow, former Sixth Form student)


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