With funding of £3,000 from Hive Foundation, Ian & Caroline McAlpine Fund and the Leicestershire Fund, BeScience have been able to run a programme of interactive science, technology, engineering and maths workshops in local libraries for children aged 6-12 and their families. Called LibraryLab, the program visited several libraries in underprivileged areas on a Saturday morning once a month. The sessions were set up as workshops allowing participation in hands-on and interactive STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) activities. The aim was to encourage engagement of STEM informally out of school, to increase interest in the topics and have more students from diverse backgrounds go into the STEM industry.
LibraryLab catered to targeted groups e.g. families who were experiencing homelessness, the Gypsy and Traveller community and People with refugee or asylum seeker status. The labs provided everyone involved with an extremely positive experience, including the attendees, volunteers and library staff.
The sessions are supervised by STEM students and local volunteers. Last year over 70 volunteers supported the tour in Leicester, 10% of whom were vulnerable people who were not in employment, education or training and/or faced significant challenges accessing employment, education or Training. They used the opportunity to get jobs or more work experience opportunities.
“The BeScience activity sessions in Leicester Libraries have generated real excitement and interest in science –the overall reaction from both children and parents has been that the sessions were interesting and fun. One quote sums up its success in delivering science in a community setting- “I thought it was for proper brainy people but it was great”.This has enabled our libraries to deliver one of our key objectives – Informal Learning outside school.’’ Paul Gobey, Library Development Manager-Children Services.
If you’d like more information on setting up a fund with the Community Foundation to help projects such as these please contact Katy Green on 0116 262 4804 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org