Pupils in Renfrewshire are being encouraged to submit their ideas for improving their local high street as part of a nationwide school competition.

Scottish charity TechFest's Blueprint Challenge, which is open to students from S3 to S6, aims to give young people a seat at the decision-making table.

The competition has been organised in collaboration with Bluewater, a specialist private equity firm focused on global energy. 

The initiative has been developed through Bluewater's charitable division to inspire children to think about future energy and how this can be integral to a better environment and social agendas.

The Gazette: Sarah ChewSarah Chew (Image: TechFest)

Sarah Chew, managing director of TechFest, said: "Scotland's high streets are dying, and regenerating them is a huge challenge. 

"Young people and their fresh perspectives deserve to be heard by decision-makers and they might just have the answers and ideas that will help transform high streets throughout the country."

Pupils who take part will be asked to take into consideration "modern problems" surrounding architecture, economic stability, power generation and consumption, and how they can bring energy, technology and nature together to create a high street that meets Net Zero targets and encourages nature and community to grow.

Teams will work together to create a project summary by the end of November, followed by a presentation day in December, where they will display their projects to a panel of experts, with a further opportunity to display their work as part of TechFest's Science Festival in May 2024.

Sarah said: "In the past decade there have been continued discussions, debates and reports on how to transform our high streets and make them fit for the future but despite various thought-provoking think tanks and reports, sadly we have seen little to no action.

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"The Scottish high street is in crisis, and we need urgent action to save them, that is why the TechFest Blueprint Challenge is a huge opportunity to champion the youth voice and help transform how we use our high streets.

"Young people have a different perspective, and we see them delivering innovative ideas that are creative, thoughtful, full of insight and often surprising."

An online information session is set to take place on Wednesday, August 30th, from 4.15pm to 4.45pm, to help teachers learn more about the competition.

Schools have until Monday, September 11 to register a team ahead of the project launch the following day.

For more information, visit bit.ly/3PbSsKt.