Watch the interview below

I’m Pippa, I’m the Volunteer Engagement Officer here at the British Science Association (BSA)! It’s my job to support our 38 branches. The branches are a network of volunteers who run events and activities across the country to engage members of the public with our vision of a world where science is a part of society and culture. Over the past year, I’ve been privileged to get to know each branch and see the incredible passion they have for engaging with their communities. Every day since I’ve started working at the BSA I’ve been inspired by the commitment, dedication and the creativity of our volunteers. I’ve been asked to write a blog to celebrate Volunteers' Week and to share some of my highlights of the past year and why I love my job.

As someone who wasn’t engaged with science growing up, who really didn’t think science was for them or could be a part of their life, I’m always so pleased to see branches delivering science in a way that’s accessible and fun. From Sci-screens, to treasurer hunts, to pretend murder investigations (well done Norwich!), to food festivals, to cocktail making and more; our branches creatively ensure that there’s something for everyone. That no one feels like feels science isn’t for them. Our volunteers are diverse, they come from different backgrounds and know the challenges that different groups face, and they use this experience to create inclusive activities for different audiences. 

Something I’m always particularly impressed by, is when our branches work with community groups. I know it can be a challenge and often involves thinking outside of the box, but this doesn’t put them off. Our Sheffield branch created an event around the science of wellness for a mental health support group. Our Norwich branch engaged adults with learning difficulties with microscopic activities and recently our Oxford branch worked in partnership to organise a day of fun around the theme of nutrition for women and their children from a local refugee group.  We believe that our volunteers are best served to know how to involve their communities and time and time again, they prove this with innovative ideas

One of my favourite aspects of my job is when I get to go and meet branches in their cities and areas or get to speak to volunteers over the phone. I was lucky enough to attend our Nottingham branch’s Science in the Park event. I saw little girls light up as they watched drones fly around them, watched little one’s squeal with delight at experiments about sound and saw families gathered together to spend a day of fun surrounded by science. I was once again blown away by the sheer amount of work that our volunteers put in to ensure that families in their community get to engage with science.

I just wanted to end this blog with a massive thank you to all our volunteers, from branches to Sections, and the Youth Panel to the General Committee! You are at heart of everything that the BSA does. I’m sorry for the many, many emails you receive from me but know that I am always proud to talk endlessly about your achievements and proud to help you in any way I can. Without you, we could never achieve our aim and on behalf of everyone at the BSA, thank you!

If you are interested in getting involved with the British Science Association, you can find out more here.