Climate activist Paddy Dixon, 24, from Ealing, is running the Brighton Marathon on Sunday 10 April in a bid to raise £1,000 to fund a young, disadvantaged, person to join Raleigh International conservation programme Re:Green.

The Re:Green youth-development programme gives young people aged 18-24 the opportunity to learn key personal and professional skills, while taking part in projects that contribute to the conservation of the UK’s most precious natural landscapes in the West Highlands of Scotland.

Over the course of two or four weeks, volunteers learn vital skills such as teamwork, problem-solving, adaptability and leadership, whilst also being upskilled in environmental and nature training so they can be leaders in climate action.   

For many young people, the global pandemic has had a devastating impact.

Disruptions in education and increasing unemployment has exacerbated inequalities and closed many learning opportunities for young people.

Recent statistics show 11.2% of 16–24 year-olds in the UK are unemployed compared to a national average of 4.1% among other ages, with those with the lowest level of education being the most likely to face unemployment and poverty.  

Through the Access Fund, Raleigh International offer disadvantaged young people a fully-funded place on Re:Green, however spaces are limited. 

Paddy has been training for months in the lead up to running the 26 miles of the Brighton Marathon.

He said: “Re:Green is tackling the climate crisis whilst effectively building the skills young people require to be leaders in an uncertain tomorrow.

"The Access Fund makes this opportunity available to anyone, and I’m so excited to run in support of that.”

Funds raised by Paddy will help young people like Freddy, 21.

After becoming homeless during the global pandemic, he received help from youth homelessness charity the Amber Foundation and the Access Fund to join Re:Green in October 2021.

Freddy said: “Being homeless, I saw the best and the worst in people. There’s a lot of violence on the streets. It’s very easy to feel abandoned because no one is helping you and it’s extremely frustrating. And the more you’re trying to fight, the more barriers come up.

“Re:Green gave me an opportunity to grow as a person in ways you wouldn’t think possible. Without the Access Fund, I would not have been able to get involved.” 

Paddy has raised £780 of his £1,000 target so far through this JustGiving page.  

You can find out more about the Re:Green programme and the Access Fund here.