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Plastic Education and the Ocean Guardian Challenge

Find out more at download the Event Guide

screen shot map 2020 


Background: A community project set up by Queen Mary Sailing Club (QM) to educate young people about plastic and recycling has received a £17,000 grant from Heathrow Community Fund. 

Young people in school today will bear the brunt of the future environmental impact of inadequately managed plastic. This Challenge will develop awareness of the environmental impact of plastic through a new Accreditation for Schools. Our aim is to inspire plastic education in classrooms, to promote respect for our waterways and to increase sailing participation, to unite schools and create awareness of the global issue of plastic pollution which ends up in our oceans every year.

Richard Steele, Commodore of QM said “Plastic Bottles seem harmless enough, they are convenient and disposable - or are they? In fact, here in Britain we are making a difference with initiatives taken by our local councils, although less than half our plastic bottles are recycled back into usable products. The campaign group Recycle now estimates that in Britain alone, 16 million plastic bottles are not recycled every day, but discarded. These bottles can take at least 500 years to decompose; in other words, we adults will be leaving an unmanageable legacy for generations to come unless we take further action now. Furthermore, if we include developed, under-developed Countries and our Oceans worldwide, the weight of plastic will equal the weight of all the fish in the sea by 2050 … a sobering thought.

Education is the key to spreading the word, if we are to tackle this problem for future generations of our children; the Queen Mary Sailing Club’s ‘Ocean Guardian Challenge’ is a really fun way of doing just that. I look forward to seeing some marvellous examples of nautical ingenuity!”

The organisation was awarded the donation under Heathrow Community Fund’s Communities for Tomorrow grants programme. Quote from a community project spokesman: “Heathrow Community Fund is part of an independent grant-making charity set up by Heathrow’s owners to support and strengthen local communities close to the airport. In the past two years it has donated more than £1 million through three grant programmes, funding projects which support young people, help protect the environment and support active local communities. Funds come from an annual donation from the airport, fines imposed on aircraft that breach noise limits, Heathrow colleagues who raise funds for us, and John Lewis. The fund also supports and encourages Heathrow staff to volunteer and support the local communities where they live.”

More information about the fund and how to apply for grants is available on the website

Queen Mary Sailing Club will be working with St James’ Academy to develop and deliver the project. There are also a number of high profile supporters.