Revisiting Global Generation’s History - 2006

2006 was a landmark year. Thanks to funding from the City Bridge Trust, Global Generation took on our first group of young generators (14 – 18 year old youth leaders). Since then the Generators have provided the backbone for much of Global Generation’s work writes Jane Riddiford.

We wanted the Generators to experience that in unity between different sectors of society, e.g. business and young people there is creativity and strength. We aimed to give them practical opportunities to demonstrate with their own passion that it is “cool to care.”

One of the first ways they did this was by doing Eco Audits in collaboration with Global Action Plan for the businesses in the Offices Group’s Kings Cross and Farringdon branches. This is what the Generators had to say about their experience:

Green Survey Team

Today was fun, I got to meet business people and have business meetings like a grown up …I was disappointed that some businesses really don’t care … on reflection I see that we don’t start at the top, we have to work our way up from somewhere.
— Mariam, 16 years
My experience in one word … EMPOWERED.
— Loell, 17 years

Meanwhile on the Office Group roof things didn’t go according to plan. That summer there was a serious drought and the tenants in the building lost confidence in the idea of a “living roof” – nearly everything had died.

However this potentially sticky situation provided an opportunity for Global Generation’s work to go further. I can distinctly remember Sara Riley our chair exclaiming that we could find water. Her absolute conviction convinced me that we could find a solution. Soon after I was involved in writing multiple funding bids, which came good the following year and the roof was restored to a respectable condition.

In the interim we found another way of connecting the commercial occupiers of the building to the wildlife of Kings Cross. Working with photographer Toby Jacobs children from the nearby Calthorpe project, created a photography exhibition which lined the stair of the Office Group ... this was to be the first of many photography projects in the years to come.

Paul_Aiken_feeding_happy_campers_at_Pertwood.jpg

Childen from The Calthorpe project explore the biodiversity of Kings Cross through the eye of the camera

During that year House Restaurant opened in Kings Cross, the new eco-eaterie opened by Arthur Potts Dawson and Jamie Grainger Smith from Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Restaurant. It was a natural step to establish a partnership with them. They generously made the restaurant available for us to bring local children to work cooking and serving and to get a taste for the possibilities of healthy food in a commercial environment.

Paul Aiken and Chris Gorman also ran a three day workshop with teenagers from Camden Jobtrain, in which we created a kitchen container garden on a small roof at the back of the restaurant.

As a result one the boys secured a place on the training scheme for “Eco Warrior Chefs.”This was the beginning of collaborating with a number of restaurants which is still an important part of Global Generation’s work today.

Arthur Potts Dawson working with children from Camden Jobtrain

Camden Jobtrain boys building Acorn House Garden

Thanks to the input of Blake Ludwig, Peter Rush, Chris Gorman and regular volunteers from Camden Greenpeace, Pertwood campsite went from strength to strength. We introduced solar power, a vegetable garden and an orchard. During the year we ran five camps for young people involved in our London work and three camps for Rise Phoenix.

As always it was the words of our participants that inspired us to keep going:

This experience has given us the ability to step back and realise how materialistic our lives are – it has been both refreshing, recharging and very fun.
— Tariq, 17 years
Before I used to look down on the countryside thinking it was for old people – but being here has really changed the way I feel.
— Mariam, 16 years

Happy Campers fed by Paul Aiken at Pertwood