Community Change Makers: Improving the air that we breathe

Our Awards for All bid to The Big Lottery Fund has been successful and we’re taking ‘Invent Things’ to Leeds!

Funding means that we’ll be bringing communities together across the city and immersing intergenerational groups in a series of imaginative and hands-on digital workshops to improve their own health, wellbeing and local environment. The focus will be on air quality, with communities collaborating to shape their own futures and drive changes towards a healthier outlook.

Groups will collaborate to identify an area to target for cleaner air and use digital making skills to ‘make it happen’. They'll be taking data-driven decisions to help change behaviours and measure the impact on the quality of air around them.

Updates about ‘Sense and Sense Air-bility’ projects will be shared on the Invent Things portal with blog posts showcasing progress and ideas that can be used by other groups - in Leeds and with the wider Things Network community.

How our 'Internet of Curious Things' project will inspire the engineers of tomorrow in your school

We’re so pleased to have been awarded funding from The Engineering Education Grant Scheme (EEGS), which provides support for UK-based educational projects that increase engineering knowledge in young people.

Our grant from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) will allow us to deliver our ‘Internet of Curious Things’ programme to schools in Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire this Spring.

Alongside school workshops for 7-14 yr olds, we will also deliver intergenerational community learning events and hands-on teacher development sessions to extend, develop and excite audiences engaged through STEM innovations.

Young people will be empowered to invent with smart sensors and become changemakers in their own communities. Funding will facilitate the participation of over 300 children, teachers and family members in this series of innovative digital making workshops.

Interested to find out more as a teacher? Primary and secondary schools in Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire can register an interest in becoming a host school here.

The Engineering Education Grant Scheme (EEGS), which is run by the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, aims to engage young people aged 5-19 in learning about engineering and to develop the professional skills of those involved in supporting Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) learning and careers awareness. The EEGS also supports projects that improve wider engineering literacy.

institute of mechanical engineers logo

Peter Finegold, Head of Education and Skills at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “The Internet of Curious Things is a fantastic example of the kind of projects the EEGS scheme aims to promote. The UK is facing a critical engineering skills shortage and showing young people how creative and exciting engineering can be is a key way of inspiring the engineers of tomorrow.”

David Lakin, Head of Education at the Institution of Engineering and Technology, said: “In order to tackle the engineering skills gap we need more graduates and apprentices to enter the profession, and this can only happen if more school-age children – girls as well as boys – are attracted to, and choose to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths subjects. The IET is investing considerable resource in EEGS to support vital projects like The Internet of Curious Things, which highlight the exciting, creative and rewarding world of engineering careers to young people.”

The Year of Engineering: Taking a Closer Look in 2018

The Year of Engineering is a chance for young people, their parents and teachers to take a closer look at engineering, with hundreds of partners offering opportunities to come face to face with engineering experiences and role models.

Throughout the year, the campaign will give young people a million direct and inspiring experiences of engineering, showcasing the meaningful, creative and innovative careers that the profession can offer.

We're excited to be supporting the campaign through our 'Internet of Curious Things' and 'Invent Things' programmes. Look out for more announcements as we launch activities with schools, libraries and more community events later in the month.

STEM Futures: Ambassadors as Role Models

Alongside extending learning programmes and professional development activities, we’ve also been working with the STEM Ambassador Hub Trans Pennine to develop more opportunities to inspire young people exploring STEM futures during 2018.

January will see the launch of The Year of Engineering and we've committed to including and promoting the support of STEM Ambassadors in each of our programmes.

That'll include activities across all of the STEM disciplines and introducing role models in our formal, informal and community learning settings.

We know that their contribution will positively impact on the perception of STEM careers for some young people and equip them for future roles in a digital and STEM world.

Making connections with our own lives and considering real world applications is at the heart of each of our digital making activities, so we're excited to be collaborating with Ambassadors to enrich STEM learning and inspire the next generation.

leading a community workshop using raspberry pi computers at makefest event in leeds april 2017 (Image taken by Maria Spadafora at Make Believe event in Leeds, April 2017)

Moreover, it’s also our time to commit to the STEM Ambassador programme and volunteer to share our own experiences and passions for STEM futures.

First induction starts in January, and we're hoping to add to the impact of over 30,000 current STEM Ambassadors soon after!

Headline image by Jerome Whittingham @photomoments

Positive Impact Partners Programme with Leeds University

We're delighted to have joined the PIP Programme with Leeds University this term, and are looking forward to further collaborations on specific areas of mutual interest.

Interested to find out more? Click on this link and here's a taster from the website in the meantime:

PIP has been developed in collaboration with third sector, community and not-for-profit organisations to deliver the following outcomes:

  • Develop opportunities for collaboration that lead to positive social change
  • Respond to the varied needs of the evolving Third Sector in a timely way
  • Link skills, knowledge and capacity, across different organisations, with local need
  • Support and build capacity in the region’s diverse and vibrant third sector
  • Create personal and professional opportunities for both UoL and Third Sector partners
  • Be an exemplar of good practice

More to follow as plans evolve in the new year!