10 May - Youth Challenge in the Dragons' Den
Some of the town's finest young minds have been running the gauntlet of the Dragons' Den
Some of the town's finest young minds have been running the gauntlet of the Dragons' Den.
They were set the task of coming up with innovative ways of reducing food waste and landfill for this year's Youth Challenge.
The competition was thrown open to Middlesbrough's secondary schools, with the final showdown held in the Town Hall.
Taking part were teams from Macmillan Academy, Trinity Catholic College and Unity City Academy.
At an initial briefing in January, the teams were each were assigned a Councillor and a mentor to work alongside them, and tasked with establishing current levels of food waste and landfill produced by their school.
Further research was then undertaken to establish how and where the waste is produced and how it can be sustainably reduced.
At the end of the three-month research project, the teams were invited back to the Town Hall to present their findings to a panel of 'Dragons' consisting of Middlesbrough Deputy Mayor Cllr Dave Budd, Chief Executive Ian Parker, Middlesbrough Environment City Director Mark Fishpool and Fay Lacy, business manager of waste services contractor Biffa.
Each team outlined the savings they had already achieved and put forward a business case on further improvements they could make including costs and pay-back times.
The Dragons were faced with a tough decision, but were unanimous in naming the team from Trinity Catholic College as this year's winners.
In the panel's view, the Trinity team achieved the greatest savings and developed the most innovative and cost-effective business plan. As part of their prize the winners will visit a Biffa waste plant.
Deputy Mayor Councillor Dave Budd said: "The way we deal with our waste, and reduce the amount we produce, is more important than it's ever been, so it's great to see the young people of today coming up with the solutions of tomorrow.
"Once again the Youth Challenge produced some really innovative ideas - picking a winner was no easy task."
Biffa's local business manager Fay Lacy said: "This has been a fascinating project for me to be involved in. All the entries were of very high quality and it was tough choosing Trinity as the winner. Congratulations to them and to all the entrants who made our job so hard!
"It's very encouraging to see young people taking an interest in how waste is produced and what can be done to reduce it. They've come up with excellent ideas that can help improve their lives, their schools, and Middlesbrough as a whole."