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Rebecca Brett

Third-year undergraduate student Rebecca Brett, from Shotley Bridge in County Durham, and Sport and Exercise Sciences Department Administrator, Rachel Collins, from Hope in Flintshire, are volunteering for the conference, which is hosted by YOUNGO, the official youth and children constituency of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). YOUNGO is entirely volunteer-run and consists of around 200 youth-led NGOs, (Non Governmental Organisations), with over 6,000 individuals working, studying and campaigning in the field of climate change and environmental sustainability.

Each year, YOUNGO organises a Global Conference of Youth which takes place prior to the UNFCCC’s Conference of Parties; the UN’s annual international climate negotiations. During the conference, youth from across the world strategise about how they can effectively impact the UN climate agenda.

In 2014, YOUNGO began to host Local Conferences of Youth (LCOYs) across the world, enabling young people to participate without having to travel to the global conference. In October 2018, the UK Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC) sent a small delegation of its organisers to Amsterdam’s Local Conference of Youth. Inspired by the event, they decided to organise the first Local Conference of Youth UK (LCOYuk).

The overarching mission of LCOYuk is to empower UK youth to be local, national and global climate activists; aiming to mobilise youth to 'act locally, think globally', and to help young people find pathways into the climate justice movement.
In line with these principles, LCOY envisages that the event will create a network of UK youth leaders within the international youth climate movement; allowing young people to understand and learn more about the relationship between domestic and international climate issues, together with the importance of local, national and global activism in solving them.

The conference is due to take place in Manchester in November this year and LCOYuk is currently recruiting new members (aged 16 to 35) to contribute to organising the conference.

Rebecca, who last year received the University of Chester’s ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Community’ award, is part of two of the conference’s teams - International Collaboration; and Venue and Materials. Rachel is part of the Communications and Outreach team. However, there are also opportunities in programming, finance, social events, catering, accommodation and travel.

Rebecca said: “I was made aware of the opportunity to volunteer with LCOYuk by the Department of Geography and International Development. Upon reading the description of their work, and all they intended to achieve, I felt extremely motivated to apply. 

“Their role in advocating the voice of today’s youth with regards to climate change; particularly with their emphasis on the importance of considering youth voices (which too often get ignored despite the future implications for young people of current decision making), I felt was incredibly important, as I believe that by investing in the youthful population, climate change knowledge and behaviour can develop with the developing world. 

“This campaign towards a change in attitude and behaviour has the potential to change the world, a process which I think everyone needs to be a part of, be it in showing support for LCOYuk's event in November, or through making simple, sustainable changes.”

Rachel added: “The dedication of these young people, scattered around the country and all with so many other demands on their time, is inspirational and calls for great optimism. UK youth clearly care deeply about the environment, and hopefully initiatives like LCOY’s will establish a voice for them in government, allowing them to put pressure on policy makers to face up to the challenges of climate change.

“I became involved in the conference because I think it’s important that this voice is heard and heeded. I wanted to see this conference happen and to have some input into what it looked like, because, this being the first one held in the UK, it is an opportunity to shape the form and direction of future conferences. Studying a Master’s in Science Communication has helped me in my communications and outreach work with the conference, as it has taught me about new and developing platforms for reaching the conference’s target audiences and in engaging different demographics in discussion about scientific topics.

“The organisational team is so encouraging, supportive and receptive, everyone’s ideas are considered and valued. There are many different areas of the conference that volunteers can help with, there is something that fits with everyone’s skills and experience. Volunteers needn’t have experience in conference organisation or environmental issues and only need to be able to commit four hours a week. I would encourage young people who care about climate change to apply to contribute to the conference. If nothing else, it’s a great thing to be able to put on your CV!”

For further information on the conference, or to apply to volunteer, see:



Twitter: @LCOYUK

Instagram: @lcoyUK


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