Two Salford women are speaking up to raise awareness of the challenges facing our planet at a virtual community festival run by the Eden Project next weekend, which explores how we can build a better future together.

The Festival of Discovery, taking place from the 11th to the 13th November and coinciding with COP 26, is an exciting journey to explore a better future together for our planet at a three-day free event, jam-packed with speakers, panels and workshops.

Sharing a virtual stage at the Festival of Discovery with household names such as Sir David Attenborough, John Bishop and Ben Miller, Jennifer-Anne Smith and Christine Sherburne, both from Salford, will be joining other community-minded people taking part in inspiring sessions about initiatives taking place across the country.

Jennifer-Anne Smith, Salford speaker at the Festival of Discovery.

Jenni, who is Director of Manchester-based charity Love Withington Baths, volunteers locally as Chair of the Buile Hill Mansion Association, a group working alongside Salford City Council to re-open the mansion by 2024.

She’ll be discussing her thoughts and experiences of how nature plays a role in community spaces.

Jenni said: “I’m so excited to be able to share my experiences and what our group are doing at the Festival of Discovery.

“I have seen how our group has grown and how much people’s mental health improved by meeting others outdoors and enjoying nature.

“As well as working on the re-opening of Buile Hill Mansion, we’re also running projects to enhance the park and support the community.”

Sir Tim Smit, Co-founder and Vice/Executive Chairman of Eden Project Ltd.

In another session, retired teacher Christine Sherburne will be sharing her story of building a connection in her community, which she believes is vital to happy living.

Thanks to a rejuvenated alleyway full of homegrown plants and vegetables, Christine’s community now enjoys regular lunches, plant sales and even ‘Pimms by the bins’.

The Festival of Discovery is curated by the Eden Project Communities team, who are also responsible for the UK’s annual community celebration, The Big Lunch, made possible by The National Lottery, which saw 9 million people take part in 2021 and will be part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next year.

Map of the Festival of Discovery.

Attendees can expect panels on issues such as eco-gardening and slow fashion, as well as cooking and upcycling workshops. Even high energy work-outs and music to chill to!

The festival boasts a star-studded programme with something for all ages, from national treasure Sir David Attenborough discussing how to save the natural world with renowned academic E.O. Wilson, to actor and bestselling author Ben Miller sharing the inspiration for his magical children’s books, to Gardeners’ Question Time with BBC One’s Mark Lane and an uplifting dance work-out with influencer and personal trainer Tally Rye.

Tracey Robbins, Head of UK Delivery at Eden Project Communities, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be inviting Jenni and Christine to the Festival of Discovery next weekend.

“We’re so excited to hear some of their stories and hope that everyone attending will come away feeling inspired and motivated to get together to protect our planet.

“Here at Eden, we know that there are thousands of amazing people doing their bit to protect the planet by joining forces with their communities and seeing the amazing things that can happen when we work together.”

The Festival of Discovery will take place online on11-13 November. Sessions are free and open to anyone via The Festival of Discovery website, with new speakers being announced on social media via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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