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£290,000 awarded to UK projects in new grants scheme

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BBC Children in Need has awarded more than £290,000 in new funding across the UK, as part of Curiosity – a brand new partnership with Wellcome that is providing opportunities for children and young people experiencing disadvantage, to take part in science activities that are meaningful and fun!

The first round of the Curiosity programme has awarded 32 grants of up to £10,000 to fund projects which use the power of inspiring science activities to create change for disadvantaged children and young people across the UK. The programme aims to support young people to build their confidence and self-esteem, develop life skills and expand their horizons by changing how much science they do and how they do it. Projects will encourage young people to be curious about themselves and the world around them.

One of the projects to receive a Curiosity grant is the Enterprise Centre Limited in Bury, Manchester which will use a grant of £9,930 to deliver the Pond Lab project to disadvantaged children and young people living in an area of deprivation. The sessions will be based in the Kirklees Valley Nature Reserve and will enable the children and young people to explore the habitats of the plant life and animals in the reserve. Activities such as pond dipping, kick sampling and identifying invertebrates and amphibians will enable the young people to learn new skills and develop a better understanding of the natural environment.

Another project is Groundwork Northern Ireland which will use a grant of £10,000 to deliver the Grow Bus programme to children and young people across Northern Ireland who are living in refuges or temporary accommodation. The programme will deliver science workshops on a bus where the children and young people will learn how to conduct experiments, such as how a potato can be used as a battery and how corn is made into popcorn, amongst other things, to spark an interest into the science behind how food is created. The project will help the young people to build new skills which they will then be able to use to grow their own produce and plants and encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Elsewhere in Scotland, Eczema Outreach Scotland, has been awarded £10,000 for a pilot programme aimed at helping vulnerable children with eczema and allergies take control of their condition. Over the next year, the money will fund collaboration between the project and a scientist to develop one to one sessions and workshops aimed at increasing young people’s understanding of their immune system, eczema and its treatments.

In addition, the grant will also support the creation of an app to enable self-management. Conceptualised by the project’s own teen focus group, the software will help other children explore triggers for their eczema and allergies, as well as share strategies to manage it, whilst helping to educate others about it too.

The Oarsome Chance Foundation in Havant is another project to receive a Curiosity grant and will use funding of £8,800 to support its Coastal Rowing Project. At the project, young people will have the chance to discover the science behind the sport of rowing, from the effects of intense cardio activity on the body and the physics behind making the boat move to the ecology of the coastal environment. By doing so, participants will not only improve their physical wellbeing and gain life skills, but have a better understanding of how it all works.

In Wales, YMCA Swansea has been awarded £10,000 to help children and young people aged 10 – 18 to develop new skills through urban framing, creating and designing gardens. The project will help the
children and young people’s understanding of photosynthesis, nutrition and plant growth with the opportunity to conduct experiments using the different types of lighting, sensors and robotics. The project aims to help the children and young people to grow in confidence and improve their communication skills and self-esteem whilst preparing them for apprenticeships and employment.

We’re really excited that we are able to award these new grants in partnership with Wellcome, which will encourage disadvantaged young people around the UK to embrace an exciting and creative approach to science.

Simon Antrobus, Chief Executive of BBC Children in Need

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. Disadvantaged children and young people often have fewer opportunities to connect with science so we are delighted to partner BBC Children in Need to enable those children to access science and explore its relevance to their lives.”

The Curiosity programme will award grants in two further rounds over the next three years. Applications for the next round of grants will open from autumn 2018, with updated information about the programme available from summer 2018. Curiosity will run alongside BBC Children in Need’s existing Main Grants and Small Grants programmes which currently fund over 2,600 projects supporting disadvantaged children and young people throughout the UK.

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