Grassroots Challenge

Young people take on the Grassroots ChallengeYoung people take on the Grassroots Challenge

Would you like to help create a brighter, greener future in Northern Ireland? We’re inviting young people to take on the Grassroots Challenge and help lead local environmental projects, which will benefit your community.

Supported by the Big Lottery Fund, the Grassroots Challenge gives you the opportunity to gain practical and social skills, experience and confidence needed for employment, accredited training, as well as improving your own neighbourhood through ‘wild ideas’ projects.




Up until December 2020, Ulster Wildlife’s ‘Grassroots Challenge’ project will bring the great outdoors to life for 5,000 young people, aged 11-24, through Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and Special Schools across Northern Ireland.

A range of partner organisations are involved in helping to deliver the project, including Keep NI Beautiful, Northern Ireland Environment Link and Lantra.

This exciting youth empowerment project is one of 31 which make up ‘Our Bright Future’, a UK-wide programme run by a consortium of organisations led by the Wildlife Trusts.

To find out more contact: Alexey Janes, Grassroots Challenge Project Coordinator – - 028 9046 3116, 07816065919

How to get involved

Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster (YFCU)

Individuals and groups/clubs from YFCU design, develop and deliver environmental projects within their own community with support from Project Officers. The projects enable young people to develop their personal and environmental skills and knowledge and actively engage with their local community. Projects include planting a wildflower meadow, building bird boxes, developing a community wildlife garden, running fun family nature events and activities for their local community or raising awareness of environmental issues with local councillors. Projects can range in size and scope and can take place over one day or several months to a year.

Each participating club/group will have the opportunity to be assessed against key areas and work towards achieving an Eco-Club award.

Download the information leaflets at the bottom of this page for more details of Wild Idea Projects and Club Night Challenges. 

To find out more contact: Shona Campbell, Grassroots Challenge Project Officer for Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster – - 028 9046 3113, 07816065978
or Andrew Gracey, Grassroots Challenge Project Officer for Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster - 028 9046 3128, 07816065948

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award/Joint Award Initiative (DofE)

Award activities for Wildlife and Environment - The Grassroots Challenge programme supports young people to complete the volunteering, skills, expedition or residential sections of their Award through activities that benefit wildlife and the environment.  Volunteering project grants of upto £100 are available as are skills development grants of up to £50.  Volunteering placement opportunities, skills starter packs, wildlife expedition packs and training sessions plus a Halloween break Gold level Wildlife and Outdoor Adventure Residential are all  available.  Download the information leaflets/request forms about these opportunities at the bottom of this page.

To find out more contact: Alexey Janes, Grassroots Challenge Project Co-ordinator  –  028 90 463116,  07816 065919

Special Schools (secondary age only)

Eight Week Programme

Our Project Officer delivers a series of nature and wildlife sessions to participating classes within their own school grounds with close liaison with teachers to ensure sessions are best suited to those taking part. Each participating class will then be supported to design, develop and deliver a ‘Wild Ideas’ environmental project within their school grounds and/or local community.

Benefits to young people within special schools

• Young people will learn about the nature and wildlife on their doorstep.
• Young people will gain skills in bird box and mini beast hotel building, bird feeding, pond dipping, surveying etc.
• Young people will gain confidence learning about the world around them, working with each other, caring for other living creatures, pride in their achievements.

To register your school’s interest contact: Christine Chambers, Grassroots Challenge Project Officer for Special Schools – - 028 9046 3115

Small Grants

Any school can apply for a grant of up to £100 to do an environmental project or activity in their school grounds or local community. Download the leaflet below for more information. To apply please download and complete the grant application form below.

Grassroots Challenge Feedback Form (Survey Monkey)

If you are a young person that has taken part in a Grassroots Challenge project or activity we want to find out what impact your project has had on you, others and the environment. Go to the survey monkey below and answer six short questions, it should only take a couple of minutes to complete - your thoughts are important. Thank you!  




FilenameFile size
yfcu_wild_idea_projects_leaflet.pdf1.1 MB
young_farmers_-_club_night_challenge_leaflet.pdf796.43 KB
yfcu_wild_idea_action_plan_and_grant_request_form.doc2.01 MB
dofe_jai_award_activities_for_wildlife_-_grassroots_challenge_leaflet.pdf620.32 KB
dofe_jai_volunteer_section_registration_form-_grassroots_challenge.doc1.5 MB
dofe_jai_skills_section_registration_form_-_grassroots_challenge.doc1.5 MB
dofe_jai_expedition_pack_request_form_-_grassroots_challenge.doc1.5 MB
dofe_jai_wildlife_expedition_pack_leaflet.pdf397.22 KB
secondary_special_school_grant_application_form.doc1.27 MB
secondary_special_schools_grants_leaflet.pdf1.81 MB
grassroots_challenge_bottle_greenhouse_instructions.pdf1.5 MB