Smart Supper

Inspir­ing young people to solve city chal­lenges

Peter­bor­ough wanted to look at dif­fer­ent ways of tack­ling city chal­lenges, with fresh think­ing, no bound­ar­ies or lim­it­a­tions.  Young people are often dis­en­gaged and feel power­less in shap­ing the future of their city. Com­bine the two chal­lenges and an oppor­tun­ity arises to do things dif­fer­ently.



Smart Sup­per takes inspir­a­tion from crowd-based micro-fund­ing ideas such as Detroit Soup Night. The event is formed of loc­al Peter­bor­ough stu­dents (ages 11–18) work­ing in teams in order to pitch their ideas to loc­al decision makers and experts in the chal­lenge area. The audi­ence pay a set fee for their sup­per and then vote for their favour­ite idea. The win­ner is then awar­ded the pro­ceeds of the night, to help bring their ideas to life.

These events are designed to be a fun and inspir­ing oppor­tun­ity to intro­duce young people to city chal­lenges and help pre­serve and nur­ture their cre­ativ­ity. From grasp­ing the chal­lenge areas such as sus­tain­able trans­port to cir­cu­lar eco­nomy, the stu­dents apply them in all sorts of nov­el ways and move on to pro­pos­ing ambi­tious but real­ist­ic ideas such as design­ing com­munity gar­dens from recyc­ling waste build­ing mater­i­als to urb­an min­ing. 


The oppor­tun­ity for the young people to present their ideas also allows loc­al decision makers to exper­i­ence the tal­ent that lies with­in the city. This has res­ul­ted in bring­ing some of these ideas to life that might not have oth­er­wise been real­ised.

The Smart Sup­per pro­gram­me received the Gold Award 2015 at The Green Apple Envir­on­ment Awards. The team was hon­oured to receive recog­ni­tion from such a well-known and pres­ti­gi­ous envir­on­ment­al cam­paign.