Great Ydeas – Where are they now with Sophie Holloway

19 March 2020

YWCA Canberra’s Great Ydeas Small Grants Program provides grants up to $2,500 to support women, girls and non-binary people in the ACT to pursue their passions and improve our community.Sophie-Holloway-GreatYdeas

Applications are now open for the 2020 YWCA Canberra Great Ydeas Small Grants. This year, we have a total of $13,000 in general and specialised grants available.

Sophie Holloway received a Great Ydeas grant in 2019 for her project ‘How You Bin’. At only 18 years old, Sophie has recently graduated from Dickson College and aspires to encourage optimistic outlooks on climate change and other pressing global issues. Her Great Ydeas project, conducted while she was in Year 12, was part of her dedication to actively exploring existing solutions to these problems.

Sophie told us about her journey with How You Bin.

What is How You Bin?

How You Bin is a campaign I launched in my hometown, Bungendore, to encourage my neighbours and the broader community to revamp their recycling habits. I worked around the idea that simple changes in habits can go a long way to reducing the waste produced by a given household. What if each of us just re-familiarised ourselves with what actually is recyclable? Or used a No Junk Mail sign, and invested in some beeswax wraps.

I encouraged these through various fun and creative initiatives, from a comprehensive letterbox drop around the town and interactive presentations to local school children, to stalls at local events and the ultimate establishment of a community Climate Action group.

How did you hear about Great Ydeas and what motivated you to apply for it?

I only heard about the Great Ydeas small grants the day before applications closed! While attending the SheLeads College Conference (an incredible experience, by the way!), it was mentioned that anyone with an idea for a project involving women in their community should shoot through an application. As the idea for my campaign had been playing in my head for some time, I figured I may as well throw my hat in the ring for some funding to take my project to the next level.

How did the Great Ydeas grant help you to get to where you are today?

The grant funding allowed me to extend my project in ways I would otherwise not have imagined. For instance, I was able to purchase 100 per cent recycled envelopes to use in my letterbox drop, which helped me avoid some hypocrisy in advocating waste minimisation!

I was also able to print No Junk Mail signs to distribute to the community, and access a drone to photograph school students sitting in the shape of a giant human recycling symbol — taking my project to literal extra heights.

Why do you think it’s important for people to support individuals like yourself who have great ideas and aspirations?

It’s these great ideas and aspirations that will change the world for the better. There are countless issues in our world today, and they aren’t going to fix themselves. Empowering those with creative and innovative project ideas is one of the best shots we have at making the ripples to build into significant change.

How did you find the whole experience and what was your biggest take away?

The process of seeing this initiative through whilst managing my Year 12 workload made for a very interesting, exhilarating experience. It truly taught me a lot about time management, the importance of collaboration and the power of having an idea and sticking through with it. Most of all, the experience has now left me with countless ideas for other future projects based on the lessons I’ve learnt, people I’ve met and the vein of enthusiasm I’ve tapped into.

What kind of feedback have you been receiving since running your project

I have been completely blown away by the positive and encouraging feedback coming from the community since I started my campaign. I have received texts, calls, emails and comments in the street from friends of friends and complete strangers.

The feedback coming from parents and teachers at the local primary school has also been particularly heartwarming: I’ve heard about the children are forming lunchtime litter pick-up groups at their own initiative, getting their parents to make changes at home, and collecting soft plastics in their classes to recycle at Coles/Woolies Redcycle bins.

Do you have any exciting projects planned for the future?

Being in my gap year, I have the opportunity to really expand my horizons and chase up projects that I hadn’t been able to previously. I’m getting involved a lot with the newly-formed Bungendore Climate Action group, and have plans to create a video exploring practical and optimistic ways forward in the face of climate change.

If a young girl or women were to approach you today, what would you say to them about the Great Ydeas grant?

I would say that each of us is capable of creating amazing and incredible changes in the world around us, and that all we need is a small idea of our own and something we care about. I would say that a Great Ydeas grant application not only empowers you to actually get your ideas down on paper, but to know that people believe in your idea and can hold you accountable to follow through your project.

But more than anything, I would say that it can never hurt to put yourself out there, and that some of the best opportunities to come our way are those we might not have expected—it could even be that grant you applied for the night before the deadline!

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