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Insights from Network's Young Ambassadors - What are you grateful for?

04 March 2021

‘Insights from Network’s Young Ambassadors’ is a series of blogs by our Young Ambassadors about societal issues from the eyes of our young residents. We heard from Aneeqa last year when she shared her thoughts about wellbeing and the importance of taking care of yourself. In this blog, Aneeqa shares her insights on the topic of sustainability, something that we're also committed to working on with the launch of our first sustainability strategy.

What are you grateful for?

By Aneeqa Gruber, Young Ambassador  

Aneeqa YA Cropped

The title of my blog, 'What are you grateful for?' is a deeply philosophical question, but one of great significance. It makes you consider the central purpose of your life! Personally, I am grateful for life. Yours, mine, that of the nature surrounding us which makes possible the next consequential breath we take, immersing us into the breeze that surrounds us like a warm hug.

Aneeqa, Young Ambassador

Have you ever thought of it like that? The fact that the multitude of trees which cascade the landscape outside your front door, a daily sight in which we are all guilty of taking for granted, are alone responsible for our livelihood.

That’s why I, a 17 year old sixth form student in the borough of Barnet, am passionate about matters of sustainability. Saving our planet, a grand vision that can begin in our local community, is my central focus as a Young Ambassador, because we truly have only nature to thank for the next deep breath we take.

A little more about me to begin with. My name is Aneeqa and I have been a Barnet resident my entire life. I have fond memories of playing in the green areas of the borough. The enjoyment of the vast and beautiful green spaces from a young age was instilled in me by my mother and father, from rural villages in Austria and Pakistan respectively, who understand the strong sense of camaraderie and belonging that such close communities encompass in the form of friendships and cultural ties. Their ethos manifested in me a deep connection to our borough and the people within it.

Heart wrenchingly, I have witnessed a gradual decline in the care of our natural world’s beauty, evident in the growing mass of litter and overall disregard for the local environment. These observations inspired me to make a change. One factor is taking up the role of a young ambassador.

Alongside this, the relationship between the outside world and our collective mental health is of great significance to me. I truly do believe that when we start treating nature with compassion, we begin to show this kind of TLC to ourselves in the same way. (I’m not all talk, I promise!)

Across meetings with the lovely people at Network Homes, I was given the opportunity to present some of my ideas which will contribute to the bringing about of change. One of the ideas was a litter picking competition which would not only help to create a healthy sense of competition within the community but also restore the value of caring for nature. Some other ideas of mine included planting flowers and observing their growth, symbolic of the growth and changes in the community that must take place. Above all, I believe it’s our time to make a change within our community for the next generation.

I’m in for the long run, are you?

Want to become a Young Ambassador?

If you or someone in your household is aged 16 to 26 and would like to join Aneeqa and Aaliyah as a Young Ambassador, get in touch with our Resident Engagement Team to find out more information. You can contact them at get-involved@networkhomes.org.uk or complete our online Get involved form and they get in touch with you.