Schools will compete to help save the planet

A competition for Sussex primary and special schools to help ‘save the planet’ and reduce the amount of energy they use has been backed by a BBC TV weather presenter.

Kaddy Lee-Preston, who has worked for the BBC for many years and is a trained meteorologist, will be the head of the judging panel for the competition.

It is the only awards competition of its kind in Sussex.

The new awards scheme, founded and administered by Hurstpierpoint-based solar supplier South Downs Solar, recognises best practice in schools that reduce their power consumption.

The prize (in addition to a trophy and the title ‘South Downs Solar Eco School of the Year’) is a free installation of solar panels at the winning school, worth more than £20,000.

The winners will be announced at a Gala Awards Night in Brighton in May 2013.

Five schools in East Sussex will be shortlisted, in addition to five in West Sussex. Representatives from the ten schools, Sussex dignitaries and media will be invited to attend the Gala Awards Night, to be hosted by Kaddy.

As well as the overall prize of ‘South Downs Solar Eco School of the Year’, there will be several ‘runners up’ awards:

- Outstanding East Sussex Primary School Award

- Outstanding West Sussex Primary School Award

- Outstanding Special School Award

- Eco School Personality of the Year Award

The first step is registration, at www.southdownssolar.co.uk.

Schools will then need to download the entry form and submit a 500-word written document.

This will be judged by an independent panel of eco experts, including Tim Grima of Downs Energy, an energy-saving firm based in Burgess Hill, and Alex Hunt of Bright Green Homes, a specialist sustainable building firm in Brighton.

Kaddy Lee-Preston said, “I am looking forward to seeing children across Sussex all get involved in the South Downs Solar eco awards programme.

“Young children are so responsive to the eco message – and they love a competition.”