Xplore Science Centres For Our Future
Xplore!, along with over 40 members of the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC), has joined the Science Centres for Our Future campaign. To this end, the campaign aims to call on the government to set up an Emergency Resilience Fund to support the UK’s world-class network of regional science centres.
Xplore! has been a successful charity for over 17 years. Due to Covid-19, the science centre closed its doors to visitors in March. Additionally, it had to cancel community outreach and education programmes and stopped all events. As a result, vital revenue streams for the charity stopped coming in.
Xplore Science Centres For Our Future – £25 Million In Funding
Xplore Science Centres For Our Future. To highlight the crucial role that UK Science Centres play in making science accessible to all, Xplore! is joining this nationwide campaign. Some of the UK’s leading science advocates, including Professor Alice Roberts, are supporting the project.
The Science Centres for Our Future (SCF) campaign (#ScienceCentresForOurFuture on Twitter) supports the ASDC’s submission to the government. The SCF has asked to urgently grant £25 million in emergency resilience funding. This funding is necessary to secure the future of the whole network of UK Science Centres. Xplore! cannot apply for Arts Council or Heritage Emergency grants. Consequently, this means that without government support, many UK Science Centres are at risk.
Science Centres provide North Wales and the North West with crucial opportunities to access science in an approachable and engaging way. They also help to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. These opportunities are particularly important at a time when science is so important. This is mainly due to significant global challenges ahead of Covid-19 and climate change.
Wrexham’s Science Centre is a valuable community resource welcoming over 80,000 visitors a year since Xplore! opened 17 years ago. Nationally, hands-on Science Centres welcome millions of people in regions outside London and contribute over £200 million per year to local economies.
Xplore! is so important for North Wales. Many will have fond memories of school visits and family days out, learning new things and being inspired by interactive and hands-on experiences such as the public shows, science festivals and astronomy club. Subsequently, visitors have returned and told the team at Xplore! how their visits have inspired them to pursue careers in science. And more will follow in their footsteps.
But, in lockdown and with no revenue streams, science centres face a chronic funding gap. As charities, science centres cannot take on large debts and, while the furlough has been hugely helpful, costs like utility bills, insurance, payroll, site security and rents still need to be paid.
An Integral Part
Scot Owen, Xplore! Centre Manager: “Since 2003, our science centre has been an integral part of the local and regional community, playing an intrinsic role in inspiring the scientists and engineers of today and tomorrow. Science centres promote inclusion and equity and break down the traditional barriers to engagement such as gender and background, helping to make contemporary science accessible to all. Losing this vital resource to the community would have a detrimental impact on generations to come.”
Dr Penny Fidler, CEO of ASDC highlights: “As a nation and as a global society, we have some major challenges ahead, especially concerning climate and coronavirus. Correspondingly, to solve these challenges, we need an entrepreneurial and scientifically engaged society. Science centres unlock science for people, making it accessible and interesting to millions of children and adults each year. Without support, we will start to lose these popular cultural resources that offer access to science for all.”
Alice Roberts, Professor of Public Engagement in Science, University of Birmingham and ASDC Patron, adds: “Our Science Centres and museums are important as places where people can learn about many different branches of science, get inspired and satisfy their own curiosity. From Xplore, the Glasgow Science Centre and the Eden Project, to the Centre for Alternative Energy and the Centre for Life in Newcastle.
“These centres support hands-on learning for children all the way through to lifelong learning for adults. Like many other cultural institutions, science centres are struggling at this time and they need our support. Accordingly, I hope the government can help them survive so that they can continue their crucial work, making science accessible to everyone.”
Two Keys Way To Support The Campaign
The ASDC and North Wales’s Science Centre are asking the public to support the Science Centres for Our Future campaign in two key ways:
- Share your science centre photos and why you love them on social media, using #ScienceCentresForOurFuture
- Write to your local MP, Sarah Atherton. Please ask her to support the creation of this Emergency Fund to secure the future of Xplore! Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With one voice championing the Science Centres, the ASDC wants to let the government know how vital these charitable enterprises are to our regions. They also wish to ask the government to save over 40 of these essential cultural and community resources, thousands of jobs, millions of annual visits and billions of individual discoveries.
For further information about Explore!, email email@example.com
- To find out more about Science Centres for Our Future, check out the campaign landing page here.
- For access to the Science Centres for Our Future Google drive with video clips, logos and images, click here.
About the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres
In conclusion, the ASDC membership consists of over 60 of the nation’s largest publicly accessible science centres, discovery centres, environment centres, science museums and scientific bodies based in our cities and regions across the UK.
Together, 20 million people of all ages and backgrounds choose to connect with science at one of the UK’s Science and Discovery Centres and Science Museums each year. This includes 13 million people to the Science Centres outside London. Our vision is for a society where science inspires and involves people of all backgrounds and in all parts of the UK.
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