Saints Foundation welcomed pupils from 10 local secondary schools to St Mary’s Stadium to pitch social action projects addressing environmental sustainability at their club and in their city.
The Premier League Inspires Challenge tasks students with developing social action projects to address issues they care about, with winning teams given the opportunity to put their plan into action. The theme of this year’s challenge, set by the Premier League, is environmental sustainability.
Saints Foundation’s Community Champions brought groups from their 10 secondary schools to the 1885 box at St Mary’s Stadium, where they presented their ideas to a panel of judges.
This year’s panel – all doing their best Dragon’s Den impressions – was made up of Greg Baker, Head of Saints Foundation; Caroline Carlin, Southampton FC’s Operations and Sustainability Manager; Steve Guppy, Greener City at Southampton City Council; and Mark Hooper, Head of Operations at DP World.
Each school provided judges with distinct, creative ideas for the club and the city to become greener, leaving a hugely positive impression on the judges.
Caroline Carlin, Southampton FC Operations and Sustainability Manager, said: “I enjoyed the experience and was very impressed with the young people for having the courage to stand and present their great ideas to us.”
After much deliberation, the team selected the group from Redbridge Community School to represent Southampton FC in the Premier League Club Heats later this year. They pitched putting on a Saints Eco Day, promoting more ecological ways for fans to attend matchdays and rewarding sustainable practices with prizes.
Whilst only one school was able to progress to the next stage, all students learnt valuable skills through planning and presenting their projects. They were rewarded with an opportunity to see behind the scenes of St Mary’s Stadium, including a rare look inside the dressing room of the Saints.