Youth competition

West Cumbria MRWS Partnership youth news competition

The Partnership held a competition for young people to produce a balanced news report about a possible nuclear waste repository in West Cumbria.

The first prize of £500 was won by Eleanor Blackley, 16, of Great Broughton, near Cockermouth.  Eleanor, a sixth-form student at Cockermouth School, submitted a written article which explored the process behind the area potentially taking part in the Government’s search, and the positive and negative implications that could result.

Eleanor said: "I’m really pleased to have won. I found that taking part in the competition, and learning more about what is happening, was really interesting. I gathered information from the Partnership’s website and I also saw an article in one of the newspapers which helped me to write it.  Bits of information like it could be three times the size of the Albert Hall were interesting to me.  That helped me to visualise the size of it.  I found that it was good to know what could happen because I do want to still live here in the future."

You can read Eleanor's winning entry here.

A further three runner-up prizes of £150 went to Stainburn School, in Workington, which submitted a radio podcast piece, John Ruskin School, in Coniston, which submitted a video report, and Lauren Shaw, 16, of Cockermouth, who also submitted a video report.

Watch the Ruskin School entry

Watch Lauren Shaw's entry

Listen to Stainburn School's entry

The competition, which received almost 40 entries from young people around Cumbria, was judged by two local journalists – Jonathan Lee, the editor and publishing director of the North West Evening Mail, and Samantha Parker, a reporter for ITV Border – as well as Reverend Lindsay Gray of Churches Together in Cumbria, a Partnership member. 

Samantha Parker, ITV's West Cumbria reporter said: "The standard of the entries exceeded my expectations.  Clearly a lot of work had gone into every entry and it was hard to pick a winner - it was that close.

"This is a tricky subject to make simple and understandable.  I felt this was where Eleanor excelled, she had clearly done her research and looked at all the reasons for and against the underground store. Using the diagrams available meant she was able to illustrate the points that she was making.  I hope her essay is included in future literature on the repository - it is the perfect overview.  Well done to Eleanor, the runner ups and to everyone else who entered."

Reverend Lindsay Gray said: "It was great to see the entries from the young people from around Cumbria. The standard of some of the entries was very good and it is great to see that they have really taken the time to learn more about the issues related to this important process."

The competition, which challenged young people aged 18 or under to produce a news report, was organised to encourage young people around Cumbria to learn about the issues surrounding the Government’s search to find a suitable site for an underground repository for higher activity waste in West Cumbria.