Youth Summit 2020: ‘Our View From Here’

Before dawn from Dollywaggon Pike

Why are we here, and where are we going?

2020 is a year to encourage innovation and imagination and build on positive actions for change. What do young people have to contribute to the future of Cumbria’s communities and its natural environment? How can their views feed into strategies for the future?

Due to the extraordinary times we are now in, this programme has been postponed. We will share the new schedule when it is possible to do so.

This Young People’s Programme – originally planned for June 2020 and postponed until such time as it’s possible to host it – will explore different perspectives of place, encourage conversations across different interest groups, and promote wellbeing and new connections in Cumbria, beginning with young people.

After a series of residencies, a group of young people will co-facilitate an event at Cumbria University’s Ambleside Campus to share their visions for a future that is sustainable and better for the environment, for individuals and for communities, and to broaden out the conversation. Come along and join in the conversation – save the date: June 24th.

Bringing people together

The core group for this programme will be made up of 12 young people aged 18-30 from a range of backgrounds and interest groups, including farming, tourism business, conservation, arts & creativity and health & wellbeing, and a few who aren’t yet sure where their path is taking them. They will join from different regions of Cumbria, bringing experience from rural and urban backgrounds, and from within and outside the National Park. The key is to have conversations that promote greater understanding of place, from more than one point of view, and an appreciation of a range of skills and values; sowing seeds for new ways of working together in a shared place, for the benefit of people and nature.  

Most of us live in our own ‘echo chambers’. We spend time with people whose views chime with our own, we receive news and social media information on our digital devices that fits our current thinking, and there’s a tendency towards polarity of views. Where are the opportunities for finding common ground and for working together, and how might these be shaped by young people with the future ahead of them?

The path of change

Our View From Here is set in the context of national and global challenge of a changing climate and the need to alter our behaviours, personally and collectively. The programme takes a local focus, however, looking closely at issues in Cumbria, where there are fewer people (below the age of 30) than older people; now is the time to discuss ways to change this so that young people can shape the future of this place, for themselves and their children, rather than leave. What do young people have to say? How can young people can be  supported to live here, and to take an active part in shaping a sustainable future?

Bog beans on a small tarn near Seathwaite.

Nature at the heart of things

Being outside and physically in touch with the natural world is a key part of this programme, so the young people taking part will attend short residencies in the heart of the Lake District. This will offer the benefits of time together in a simple setting with access to woodlands, rivers and open fells: a landscape that is not only beautiful and refreshing (weather allowing!) but also offers the perfect living textbook to discuss the history of land use in this area, and the range of demands on a fragile landscape. The programme will include time outdoors, meetings with professionals outlining different career paths in Cumbria, guidance from experienced facilitators, creative exercises, and training in presentation and conference facilitation. 

The Summit

The core group of twelve young people will be co-facilitating a day event at Cumbria University for representatives from local businesses, organisations, schools and colleges – and anyone interested in finding out more about what they have to say, and the discussions that will arise.

The shape of the day will be decided by the group, and will include space for their presentations, invitations for others to speak, and break-out sessions. Expect provocation, creativity, surprises and fertile ground for new relationships and ongoing conversations.

email us if you’d like to know more and ensure we contact you as soon as the tickets are available.

Support and Partnership

We are hugely privileged to have the support of our Sense of Here project partners to help us develop and run Our View From Here, and we would like to give particular thanks to Chris Loynes and the wider team at the University of Cumbria for giving their time to help with planning and with training for the young people we’ll be working with, and for hosting the Assembly. We’re also delighted to have additional support for this programe from the John Muir Trust, from Friends of the Lake District and from Great Place Lakes and Dales.

here we stand on the highest hill
looking over the view

shaped by generations, on the cusp of change
fragments connected by memories and hope
what is ahead?
what will future generations witness?
who will be here, who will shape this place, and how?

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