Pupils’ Solaris is a bright idea

Creating the Greenest County could not be better exemplified by a Suffolk school winning a national competition that challenges secondary school pupils across the country to design a sustainable community. Well that’s exactly what has happened.

Denes High School in Lowestoft has won an award in the “Developing Sustainable Communities” competition, led by community interest company, Enterprise Lowestoft and supported by the company Arup. The competition aimed to inspire pupils in years 9 – 12 to plan for the future.

The pupils, Niall Jones and Katie Pritchard, from Denes High School entered an innovative design called “Solaris” to the competition and won their category.

Students from many schools across England worked in groups to plan and create conceptual models, drawings and descriptions of sustainable communities. I had the pleasure of judging the awards that were assessed on their use of innovative planning and design ideas in the creation of sustainable and eco-friendly communities.

Students had to consider the housing, recreation, leisure, local businesses and infrastructure requirements of a diverse community.

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The judging panel consisted of representatives from the Department of Communities and Local Government and the Department for Children, School and Families; and Creating the Greenest County amongst others.

The judges had an extremely difficult task in looking at entries from as far a field as Salford, Bath and Lowestoft. The winning Denes High School Team became “Sustainable Community Ambassadors” who met with Barbara Follett, Minister for the East of England and government officials to discuss their ideas. They also had a tour of the Houses of Parliament.

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Hazel Johnson, from Enterprise Lowestoft said: “The students of today will be the ones who will live in and develop sustainable communities in the future. This competition has equipped them with the skills and knowledge that they need to succeed in an ever changing environment. This competition gives students a real voice, input to, and an understanding of the importance of building future sustainable economies.”

This is exactly the type of exciting innovative approach to these challenges that Creating the Greenest County is supporting. We will make the most of these bright students in our midst and will be inviting them to a number of forums to share their good ideas.

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