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Students in the Good Life Group at Ark Burlington Danes Academy identified single-use plastics in the canteen as a huge issue in their school. Hundreds of plastic bottles were being purchased every day across the school and then thrown away, without being recycled, as well as plastic packaging. This Good Life Group wanted to do something about it.

The students knew that their peers weren’t going to stop buying their favourite flavoured water in a plastic bottle unless there was an alternative. They identified that education was key and wanted their peers to learn how damaging this waste is and promote the use of their reusable bottles, as well as recycling single use bottles.

This group set themselves a goal of providing every student in Key Stage 3 (417 students!) with a reusable bottle.

A person standing in front of a breezeblock wall holding a refillable water bottle
A football coach, Eric, is talking to the students. A bright yellow football is under his arm.

The group quickly realised that they would need funding to get the bottles and came up with the idea of organising fundraising football tournaments for Year 7 – 9 students. They charged a small joining fee and sold refreshments on the day to raise money.

The Good Life Group organised everything from the fee amount to the format and all promotional materials and assemblies through regular meet-ups – an impressive feat showing great creativity, autonomy and determination. They were delighted that their local Queens Park Rangers Community Trust offered to come along to run the day and referee with some of their student coaches.  

This programme has given me an opportunity to work with the young people … we’ve given them a tournament that they’ve actually created and we’ve just come to support. It’s been great to see some of the ideas that they’ve come up with ... it’s just been a joy working with them.“

Eric Salvo, Secondary School Officer
QPR in the Community Trust

The tournaments were a tremendous success with over £345 raised! The money meant that the Good Life Group could meet their goal and provide a reusable bottle to every student in Key Stage Three – even the yet-to-join year 7s!

The bottles were given to students during an assembly where the group explained how they had run the project and why reusing these bottles is so important. The grateful recipients of the water bottles were excited to start using them and to come together to reduce plastic waste at school.

“It’s been fantastic seeing them [the bottles] around the school and students taking pride in having them and using them.

- Olivia Petri
MFL Teacher, Ark Burlington Danes Academy

Students sat on the grass wearing football kit. One boy is smiling at the camera and giving a thumbs up.

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