YOUNG people in Sedgemoor are being invited to take part in a design competition supported by architect and TV presenter George Clarke.

Gravity, a project to create the UK’s first smart campus and community, is launching the Gravity Young Persons' Design Challenge.

Gravity will be a 635 acre smart campus with industry focusing on clean growth from artificial intelligence to electric cars.

Primary and secondary schools and colleges across the district are being invited to imagine and design what kind of place Gravity will be.

Gravity, based between Puriton and Woolavington, is trying to create a zero-carbon community that integrates work, rest and play.

READ MORE: Gravity smart campus near Bridgwater to attract "today's giants and tomorrow's unicorns"

The challenge is in partnership with charities Bounce Forward, who teach young people resilience, and the Ministry of Building Innovation and Education (MOBIE).

MOBIE is founded by Mr Clarke to inspire young people to think about the way we design and build places and communities.

“I am delighted that we are launching this exciting design challenge for schools in Sedgemoor, to create a new home and place on the ground-breaking Gravity smart campus and community – a place for clean, advanced manufacturing industries and for people to live, a new place to live, work and play," said Mr Clarke.

“By harnessing the talents, ideas and energy of the young people of today we can change the way we create places and how we build homes.

Bridgwater Mercury: George Clarke

"The amazing student designs that I know will flow from this challenge will show that we have a future generation with the talent and the imagination to really make a difference for people and the planet.”

Claire Pearce, director of planning and economic development at Gravity, said they want to ensure the project delivers benefits to the community - even at this early stage.

"We’re excited to be working with Bounce Forward and MOBIE, and engaging with local schools and colleges, to take advantage of the educational opportunities that Gravity is already creating," she said.

“As a project which will create over 4000 jobs, it is important to think about how we can reduce the need to travel to work, what we can include as part of the scheme to help local people access work opportunities, and how to design in integrated homes and leisure opportunities, as part of a new integrated, and sustainable community.

“Through this competition, we’re encouraging young people to think about place making; what do they want from Gravity and places of the future? What kind of workspaces and homes create a happy, healthy and well-connected place to live and work?”

MOBIE and Bounce Forward have already hosted a webinar to provide participating schools with information and support about how to get involved.

Cllr Gill Slocombe, deputy leader of Sedgemoor District Council, added: “This competition presents a wonderful opportunity for young people to get involved with Gravity - a project of national and international importance located here in their local area.

"As plans emerge to create this innovative and sustainable community in Sedgemoor, it’s important we listen to what young people want from Gravity, and for their future.”

Bounce Forward will also run three webinars aimed at secondary school students.

“Our overall aim is to help young people develop resilience, not just to overcome setbacks, but to solve problems and think creatively," added Lucy Bailey, chief executive and co-founder of Bounce Forward.

"In the context of this competition, we want to support students, and their teachers, to be open and curious to new perspectives and have the confidence to let their imaginations go.”

The Gravity Young Persons’ Design Challenge has three age categories, 9-11, 12-15 and 16-18. The finalists will be announced on 18 June and the winners revealed at an event to take place in June or July 2021.

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