Northampton students take a stand and launch campaigns tackling potholes and air pollution

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Two sets of sixth form students from Northampton took a stand and launched campaigns tackling the issues of potholes and air pollution across the town.

The eight year 12 pupils from The Duston School hoped to improve community cohesion through their important work, as part of the Inspire US competition.

Over the past three months, the groups have developed teamwork and communication skills to improve awareness of local political issues that are important to them.

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Groups who are successful in the competition will showcase their campaigns at the Finalist Forum in London, and will be awarded a grant to further the reach and impact ahead of the final judging day in June.

Eight year 12 pupils from The Duston School hoped to improve community cohesion through their important campaign work on potholes and air pollution, as part of the Inspire US competition.Eight year 12 pupils from The Duston School hoped to improve community cohesion through their important campaign work on potholes and air pollution, as part of the Inspire US competition.
Eight year 12 pupils from The Duston School hoped to improve community cohesion through their important campaign work on potholes and air pollution, as part of the Inspire US competition.

Up to four groups will then win a trip to Washington DC during the US elections for campaigning masterclasses.

This trip of a lifetime will see the winning groups take part in ‘Campaign College’, where they will network with US politics experts and hit the campaign trail in election hotspots.

The first group from The Duston School, hoping to be successful in the Inspire US competition, is ‘Fill The Potholes’.

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After seeing how potholes impact community members, particularly their parents, this group wanted to raise awareness of the difficulty our roads cause to travel plans and the damage they cause to vehicles.

Over the past three months, the groups have developed teamwork and communication skills to improve awareness of local political issues that are important to them.Over the past three months, the groups have developed teamwork and communication skills to improve awareness of local political issues that are important to them.
Over the past three months, the groups have developed teamwork and communication skills to improve awareness of local political issues that are important to them.

Through surveys and interviews, the pupils concluded potholes are a major concern – with 97 percent of people interviewed having given a negative comment.

The group is made up of Iqrah Begum, Hazel Bodsworth, Adesewa Isikalu and Sara Gjipalaj and this week they have also been on local radio to raise awareness of the campaign.

Adesewa said: “Potholes were something that simply lingered in the back of my mind whenever my parents were driving, but I’ve learned they are a universal issue. They will not change if our actions against them stop at complaining, instead of taking real action and educating ourselves.”

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The second group is ‘Solution For Pollution’, campaigning against the issue of increasing air pollution.

The team, made up of Fenian Corrigan, Tadhg Corrigan, Casey O’Sullivan and Ellis Lovejoy-Townsley, said: “We chose air pollution as in Northampton we have the worst air quality in the UK – well above the safe limit set by the World Health Organisation.

“Breathing in Northampton is equivalent to smoking just under 200 cigarettes per year. We feel the people in our area aren’t as informed as they should be and don’t realise how it affects them, especially younger people.”

They have been committed to running focus groups and polls with students, and trying to place air monitors in their school and different urban and rural locations to pinpoint the areas with the worst air pollution.

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The groups most recently presented their campaigns to year five primary school students, in a final push before they submit ahead of the Inspire US competition deadline this week.

The Fill The Potholes group also launched a petition for the Northampton community to show their support. With 84 signatures, they hope to push to 100 by the end of the working week.

To show your support to the Fill The Potholes campaign group, you can sign their petition here.

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