The Virgin Atlantic Change is in the Air Award supports schools to make a mark on our planet! Thanks to Virgin Atlantic, young people from across the UK have the chance to win up to £2,000 to turn their ideas for sustainability into action. Decrease negative environmental impacts and take your positive impacts to the next level.

Now in its third year, the Virgin Atlantic Change is in the Air Award invites students to share their solutions for making their local or global communities more sustainable. Open to primary and secondary schools, the five winning applicants will each be awarded up to £2,000 to use towards developing their sustainability initiative.

Sustainability initiatives include but are not limited to: fundraising campaigns, awareness-raising campaigns, environmental initiatives, and design ideas that solve a problem related to sustainability. For example, raising awareness of renewable energy, a drive to promote sustainable fashion, a campaign to reduce waste, a litter picking initiative or a tool that helps save water, etc.

All UK students from age 8+ are eligible to apply:

  • Primary: Pupils must apply as a group and require support from a teacher, who will submit the application on the group’s behalf.
  • Secondary: Students may apply as a group or as an individual and should submit their own application. Students will also require the support of a teacher, who will act as their sponsor.

For more information, read our FAQs below or email [email protected]

Apply now

Lesson Plans

To help with your environmental initiatives, we’ve put together a Virgin Atlantic Change is in the Air Award lesson plan, differentiated for primary and secondary students.

Winning applicants will receive the grant of up to £2,000 in February 2019. The awarded funds must be spent during the 2018/19 school year.

The Virgin Atlantic Change is in the Air Award is run by WE. Virgin Atlantic has generously partnered with WE to support our mission to empower young people to come together to change the world.

Please note that successful applicants are expected to provide regular updates on their project to the WE Schools team. Grant recipients consent to a telephone interview with the WE marketing team and to providing media-released photos for our external communications purposes on project completion.

ribbon

Change is in the Water

Burnt Ash Primary School in the London Borough of Bromley were amongst the Change is in the Air Award winners in 2016/17. Discover how they turned their green dreams into a reality!

Whilst the pupils of Burnt Ash Primary School in the London Borough of Bromley may be small, they are having an almighty influence on the environment.

Aware of a pollution problem at the nearby Brook Lane Community Garden, pupils resolved to clean up their community. A successful application for the Virgin Atlantic Change is in the Air Award, plus the pupils’ unwavering passion, helped them to do just that.

Their anti-pollution initiative started with education. By educating themselves on the issues, the Green Ambassadors were soon equipped to teach their wider community. Since the brook runs into the river Thames, pupils took time to explore the long-term impact of water pollution on their borough, their city, and the planet.

What followed was a team effort. The group worked together to create an awareness-raising leaflet to distribute to members of their local community. Some wrote letters, others designed an informational poster, and one budding artist created an eye-opening logo for their clean-up campaign. Their hard work paid off and, soon enough, their community was listening. With support from two environmental organisations, pupils achieved their green goal: reducing pollution in the brook.

“The students have learned loads—the message is that if you do one small thing, it has a bigger impact. Today, their group motto has become ‘We are small but mighty,’” said Susan Tidd, Educational Visits Coordinator at Burnt Ash Primary School.

Through the Change is in the Air Award, these powerful pupils have created change in their local environment and, in turn, in the wider world.

Frequently Asked Questions – Virgin Atlantic Change is in the Air Award



Eligible applicants are UK students (ages 8 – 19) although there are different rules if applying from a primary or secondary school:

Primary (year groups 4 – 6): Pupils must apply as a group with a named teacher representative. The teacher representative will be the point of contact at all times and must fill out the application form.
Secondary (year groups 7 – 13): Students may apply as a group or as an individual and should submit their own application. All applicants must have the support of a teacher sponsor who will be responsible for keeping students on track and managing the awarded funds, should the application be successful. An automated email will be sent to the nominated teacher sponsor for approval once students have submitted their application. Without a teacher sponsor, the application is invalid and will not be assessed.



Sustainability initiatives include but are not limited to: fundraising campaigns, awareness-raising campaigns, environmental initiatives, and design ideas that solve a problem related to sustainability. For example, an awareness-raiser for renewable energy, a drive to promote sustainable fashion, a campaign to reduce waste, a litter picking initiative or a device that helps save water, etc.


Schools can apply for the Change is in the Air Award via an online application form. For the 2018/19 academic year, the application window is late October to 14 December 2018.

To apply, teachers (primary) or students (secondary) will need to submit an online application form. The form consists of three sections:

  1. Project Description
  2. Project Impact
  3. Budget Allocation

Applicants are advised to pay careful attention to their budget allocation. Applications without complete budgets will not be considered.

Note: All secondary school applications must have a teacher sponsor, who will be asked to approve the application after it has been submitted and will be responsible for overseeing the project. Without a teacher sponsor, the application is invalid and will not be assessed.



There is no limit on group size as we recognise that extra-curricular clubs, whole classes or friendship groups may wish to apply together. Students and teachers are advised to use their discretion when determining groups.


Yes—we want to encourage as many students as possible to apply! We ask, however, that individual students only contribute to one application, either as part of a group or as an individual.


Winners will be selected based on personal interest, merit, and demonstrated commitment to tackling sustainability issues.

We are committed to ensuring that all students are given equal chance of success, regardless of age group, and this will therefore be taken into account during the judging process.



Click here to download the 2018/19 application questions as a pdf. Since it is not possible to save your progress and return to complete the online application form, we recommend that applicants prepare their answers before beginning the online form.

Please note that we can only accept applications submitted using the online application form, which will open late October 2018.



Applications for the 2018/19 award will open late October 2018 and close on 14 December 2018.



Download and print our Change is in the Air Award poster to spread the word! We’ll also be sending emails about the award to give everyone the opportunity to apply.



Applicants will be updated on the status of their application in January 2019.

If you haven’t heard from us, please contact us at [email protected]. We regret that we are unable to give specific feedback to unsuccessful applicants.



The grant of up to £2,000 will be transferred to the associated school’s bank account and must be used in accordance with the budget breakdown submitted as part of this application.


Our WE Go Green campaign is a great place to find further reading and resources, lesson plans and campaign ideas. We have also created a primary and secondary Change is in the Air Award lesson plan to support with the development of your sustainability initiative, which can be downloaded above.


Virgin Atlantic is committed to making an investment to educate young people in the UK about important issues facing the world today, and inspiring them to act at a global and local level. The Virgin Atlantic Change is in the Air Award, generously funded by the Virgin Atlantic Foundation, is a key part of Virgin Atlantic’s commitment to investing in young people in the UK as young leaders and global citizens.

Find out more about Virgin Atlantic’s commitment to sustainability here and its partnership with WE.



To support the organisation and implementation of your sustainability initiative we’d recommend making full use of your WE Schools Kit. From identifying the issues to planning your initiative and getting started, there’s a range of information and tools to set you up for success. Download the full WE Schools Kit online here. Or, why not take a look at our Change is in the Air Award lesson plans? Download them above.



Download terms and conditions for the 2018/19 award here. For more information, email [email protected].