Ignite! has teamed up with The Renewal Trust to bring a nationwide science programme called Curiosity to Nottingham, giving children across the city the chance to benefit from free, inspiring science activities – chosen and led by young people themselves.
Cherry Underwood, CEO at The Renewal Trust explained: “Nottingham prides itself on being a science city, the home of amazing inventions like the MRI scanner and Ibuprofen; as well as world-leading universities, hospitals and the life science incubator BioCity – which describes itself as ‘providing a home to the curious, to the radicals and the pioneers going toe-to- toe with the healthcare challenges that affect us all, globally’. “But where are the next generation of ‘the curious’ going to come from? Do our young people see their future in science? And how can Nottingham’s reputation for life sciences benefit them and our communities?
“Our Curiosity project with Ignite! is all about making science fun and accessible, by taking it to the places where young people feel relaxed and at home, and letting them lead how and what they learn.
“Children are naturally curious about themselves and the world around them and our project will tap into that and build on it. When we are curious, we explore, when we explore, we discover…so what might our future generations discover?”
This project is one of just 32 chosen to take part in the nationwide programme, which is being funded by Children in Need and Wellcome.
The Renewal Trust and Ignite! have been awarded £10,000 through the programme, to run a range of informal, science-based activities around the city, including a celebration event to showcase young people’s achievements towards the end of the year. The Nottingham-wide project will work to increase children’s confidence, communication skills and sense of pride and self-belief – as well as participation in science.
To develop curious minds, young people will have the chance to choose the kind of topics they want to explore, take part in fun experiments using everyday things around the home, use scientific equipment such as microscopes to see the world around them from a different perspective and learn from experts working in a range of scientific fields.
Rick Hall, Founder and Associate of Ignite!, explained more about the project: “We’re going to be working with young people of all ages and backgrounds in youth groups across Nottingham. Through fun and creative sessions, they’ll have the opportunity to express their
curiosity, ask questions and take a leading role in finding out the answers. Every group will come up with something different so we’re looking forward to seeing what gets Nottingham’s young people curious, and using science to investigate what matters to them in their everyday lives.”
The Renewal Trust and Ignite! will work with a range of organisations, including Youth and Play teams across the city, the SEND group in Sneinton and the Refugee Forum in St Ann’s.
Cherry Underwood concluded: “Science can inspire young people in the same way as sport or music for example, if it’s delivered in the right way. Plus of course, it can give them invaluable skills and opportunities to improve their futures. Not all scientists wear white coats!”
Simon Antrobus, Chief Executive of BBC Children in Need said: “We’re really excited that we are able to award these new grants in partnership with Wellcome, which will encourage more young people around the UK to embrace an exciting and creative approach to science.”
Dr Hilary Leevers, Head of Education and Learning at Wellcome, added: “We know that taking part in science activities with friends and peers can make differences in children’s lives. Some children and young people have fewer opportunities to connect with science than others, so we are delighted to partner with BBC Children in Need to enable all children to access science and explore its relevance to their lives.”
This is the first round of the Curiosity programme, so The Renewal Trust and Ignite! are hoping to win more money for science in Nottingham – by showing the difference that science can make to children’s lives.