Science@Home - Bridging the Digital Divide

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Winchester Science Centre, NI and Fareham and Gosport Basics Bank join together to bring non-digital activity packs to families

Moans and groans were heard up and down the country over the past few months as many parents and children came to terms with the reality of home schooling once again, something some with digital capabilities can take for granted. Winchester Science Centre is working hard to help address this digital divide that has become so apparent as a result of the global pandemic and last month launched a brand new non-digital space-themed activity pack, generously funded by an NI COVID-19 Community Grant and being delivered with essential food parcels by Fareham and Gosport Basics Bank.

The new packs, which form part of the Science Centre’s hugely popular Science@Home programme, have been designed by the dedicated STEM Now team who have over 30 years-experience in engaging children through STEM. The aim is to spark curiosity and raise aspirations for children whose families who are facing crisis. The Fareham and Gosport Basics Bank is dealing with around 50 referrals a week for people in the community who find themselves facing a crisis and who don’t have enough money to buy food. They have provided parcels to last seven days for around 120 to 150 people each week.

Families will be able to learn together but also have fun together while they complete the activities. It is hoped that more food banks will come on-board and anyone that is interested can contact the team at inspire@stemnow.org.

Andy Keenan, Head of Widening Participation of Winchester Science Centre, said: “The launch of this programme is in response to the desperate need to bridge the digital divide, something that has never been clearer than during this pandemic. When facing a crisis, such as society is now, it is important that we continue to raise aspirations of all young people so they see the value of reaching for the stars when they look to their futures.”  

Set up in 1986, Winchester Science Centre, an independent educational charity with no government funding, made a commitment to spark curiosity in STEM in everyone, regardless of age, ability or background. It aims to improve access to STEM, making it more relevant and fun for all, and engages with up to 40,000 school children every year. As part of this mission STEM Now was created to engage children with volunteer STEM role models, through digital, and now non-digital, activities and through STEM projects.