Young People Join Forces To Protect The Planet

Young People Join Forces To Protect The Planet

Participants from Rochdale AFC Community Trust will join more than 120 young people representing clubs from across the Premier League and English Football League at a special Protect the Planet event on Tuesday (21 November), as part of the Premier League’s commitment to empowering young people to take positive action around climate change.

Funded by the Premier League and #iwill Fund, and delivered by the Premier League Charitable Fund through the national Premier League Kicks, Premier League Primary Stars and Premier League Inspires programmes, the event will see nine-to-13-year-olds from 25 professional football clubs come together to tackle environmental sustainability at their football clubs and in their communities.

Held at Liverpool’s Anfield stadium, the event will enable young people to take part in an exhibition of their youth social action projects devised to protect the planet, alongside a motivational panel discussion featuring inspirational role models, and workshops and skills sessions designed to support young people’s understanding of the world around them.

The Protect the Planet event has been co-designed by, and will be co-delivered with, the Premier League Charitable Fund Protect the Planet Youth Panel, a group of 14 young people aged 11 – 16 with a passion for environmental sustainability.

Rochdale AFC Community Trust representatives will be exhibiting their Protect the Planet project at the event highlighting their aims and impact.

Pupils from Healey Primary school gathered to explore the project

Pupils from Healey Primary school gathered once a week to explore the project.  Week 1 was about exploring the challenge and discussing themes such as transport, nature, energy, food and pollution.

After debating for their chosen theme, the group decided on Tackling Plastic Pollution as well as creating the team name Social FC and writing their own pledges.

Week 2 involved learning about the issue and starting to plan a local litter pick to find out how much impact plastic pollution has in their community.

Subsequent weeks including contacting partners & teachers, resourcing equipment as well as the event itself.

After reviewing what they had found the group wanted to highlight it to the rest of the school, this is when they decided to make their own assembly.

The aim was to highlight plastic waste being thrown away and how bad single use plastic is for the environment.  Key messages were given through video’s, poems and a character story to reuse, reduce, recycle, and also switch single use plastics to extended use plastics if you could.

The headteacher commented:

‘What a fantastic opportunity the group provides for the children, it is so valuable for the school and community and we definitely want to book in again for next year.’

Our Premier League Primary Stars lead added:

‘What a fantastic project the children have made, the knowledge and drive from to make a difference in their community has been outstanding.  Every week they worked hard to plan, do and review, running 2 events and even creating their own character and story to highlight the issue to their peers at school.’

‘The children have already asked me if I can come back again to do another project and asked if their friends can join too, I can’t wait.  Projects like these enabling children to have voices and impact in their community, thanks to the Premier League Charitable Fund and #iwill Fund for providing the funding and resources, without which we wouldn’t have been able to run this amazing project.’

Primary Stars uses the power of football to engage and inspire pupils through projects, interventions and more.  If you would like to know more – email

Launched in August 2022, and designed to reduce the barriers to participation in youth social action, the Protect the Planet Challenge increases young people’s knowledge and understanding about environmental sustainability and empowers them to positively influence climate change action in their local communities. More than 2,400 young people representing more than 90 professional football club community organisations from across England and Wales have taken part in the Challenge to date.

Premier League Charitable Fund Chief Executive, Ruth Shaw, said: “Environmental sustainability is of great importance to the Premier League Charitable Fund. Through the Protect the Planet Challenge young people from Premier League programmes across England and Wales have developed some brilliant ideas to drive positive environmental sustainability action in school, at home and in their communities.

“We must all play our part in this important issue, and I’m grateful to the Premier League and #iwill Fund for their support in helping our charity, and the professional football club community organisations we work with, to empower thousands of young people to take positive action on climate change.”

The Premier League became a signatory of the UN Sports for Climate Action framework in 2021 and has been working towards reducing its own emissions by 50% before 2030 and achieving net- zero emissions by 2040, in line with the 1.5 degrees global warming limit of the 2015 Paris Agreement. Together with clubs, the Premier League has been supporting fans and communities to understand the importance of environmental sustainability.  

As part of the Protect the Planet Challenge, the Rochdale AFC Community Trust team explored the positive work Rochdale AFC is already doing to tackle climate change, including

EV chargers

Green energy tariffs

Meter monitoring

Waste recycling

LED floodlights and use across the stadium

Water saving measures implemented

Sourcing local

Staff car sharing

Green weekend events

The #iwill Fund is made possible thanks to £66 million joint investment from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to support young people to access high quality social action.  The Premier League Charitable Fund is acting as a match funder and awarding grants to professional football club community organisations to support the Protect the Planet delivery, on behalf of the #iwill Fund.

To find out more about the Protect the Planet Challenge, please visit

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