Manchester Metropolitan has been inspiring the next generation of scientists with help from BBC Children in Need funding.

Abraham Moss Warriors, a community football club in North Manchester, were awarded a Curiosity grant of £7,050 to inspire young people to engage with science activities.

The children from the club visited the University for a week of science activities, put together by technicians and academics as part of the Curiosity programme – a partnership between BBC Children in Need and the Wellcome Trust.

The programme provides grants for projects across the UK to encourage disadvantaged young people to be curious about science, make a positive difference in their lives, build confidence and self-esteem, develop life skills and expand their horizons.

Outreach and engagement

James Pritchett, lecturer and biomedical researcher at Manchester Metropolitan was a partner in Abraham Moss Warriors’ application for Curiosity funding. He has been working with the club since March to help provide weekly science workshops.

To support the programme technicians and academics across the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University created a week of activities, including demonstrations with robots, virtual reality and safe explosions as well as learning about forensics and DNA.

He said: “Outreach and engagement in the community is a priority at the University and this is a great way of achieving that. It’s really important that we engage children with science at such a young age – all these children told us science is boring, so our technicians at the University have worked really hard to put together a programme that will get them interested and give them the opportunity to see what science is really about – and you never know, we might be seeing a future cohort of Manchester Metropolitan students.”

Inspire

Abraham Moss Warriors is a football club in North Manchester, which is funded by BBC Children in Need. It aims to provide a safe environment where children of different faiths and nationalities can work side-by-side, improve their football skills and keep away from gangs and anti-social behaviour.

June Kelly, the founder of the club said: “I really wanted to engage the children who said they didn’t like science, so with the help of James, we held science sessions and asked them what they wanted to do, see and learn about.

“We had a target to get 16 children engaged in science, and so far we’ve engaged around 70. The link with Manchester Metropolitan along with the funding from the Curiosity programme has given these children, who would otherwise be sat at home dong nothing, the opportunity to do and see things they have never seen before and visit places they have never been.

“To a lot of these children and families university is a closed shop – not many have the expectation that they might be able to go. Hopefully this collaboration can continue and we will inspire them for the future.”

The chance to learn

One of the children who enjoyed the event was Fahad Khalid, age 11. He said: “Because of the science club, I would like to be a scientist in the future – it’s really fun and exciting. We’ve been given the chance to learn and do things we wouldn’t normally get to.”

Maheen Rafique, also 11 years old added: “My mum’s a scientist so it’s been good to go home and impress her with what I have learnt – it’s been really fun to come to a University and see all of the equipment that it has here.”

The children enjoyed morning and afternoon sessions from Monday 6 August to Thursday 9 August.

They will also be discussing their favourite topics and demonstrating experiments at Manchester Science Festival in October.

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