As part of its commitment to growing and diversifying the community of people interested and involved in science, the British Science Association (BSA) runs the British Science Festival Community Grant Programme.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the BSA and Anglia Ruskin University have taken the difficult, but sadly inevitable, decision to postpone the British Science Festival 2020, due to take place from 8 – 12 September in Chelmsford. It will instead be held from 7 – 11 September 2021.

Read the full statement here.

Information about the Festival’s Community Grants programme for 2021 will be provided in due course.

Background to the grants programme

Each year, the BSA provides grants of £500 to community groups/organisations in the host festival city that work directly with audiences who are traditionally underrepresented and currently not engaged in science activity. We want to empower and support community groups to run their own science activities as part of the British Science Festival, enabling new local audiences to engage with science. 

The British Science Festival is Europe's longest-standing national event which connects people with scientists, engineers, technologists and social scientists. Tens of thousands of people come together to celebrate the latest developments in science and to engage in open discussion about issues that affect our culture and society.

If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch with the BSA at [email protected].

If you are part of a community group or organisation, you might also be interested in joining our Community Engagement Network. Find out more here.

Below are descriptions of the 2019 BSF Community grant recipients

ILEAP is a charity that runs inclusive activities for children, young people and adults with mild to moderate learning disabilities. They will be holding sessions at a garden space in The Kenilworth Centre to promote understanding around the biology of plants and nature.
Ayriss Recovery Coventry is a drug and alcohol outreach/support service that offers support to people experiencing addiction problems. They will be running a session to educate the service users on topics such as the differences that depressants and stimulants have on the body, better vein care and what happens to the body during an overdose.
West Indian Heritage Community Action works to support the needs of members of the African-Caribbean community in Coventry, running a range of cultural, social and community-based activities. For the Festival, the group will be working with a mathematician from the community who will run sessions to engage young people with the exciting world of numbers.
The Smallpeice Trust supports and inspires young people with STEM. They will be working with the home-education community, running a STEM enrichment day to ensure that children who are home educated can still access science. The day will include a hands-on design and build challenge.
Vanny Radio is a community radio station that is run almost entirely by volunteers and caters to the needs and interests of the local community. They will be running a seminar discussing the importance of science in our everyday lives and some of the issues around how science is presented by the media.
Coventry Men's Shed provides a place for men to socialise and engage with others in a space where they feel supported. Many of the group experience mental health problems, social isolation and are in recovery from substance abuse. The group will be running four cooking sessions, exploring different elements and learning more about healthy eating and cooking.
BLAST Fest is a festival that will be running ‘Caribbean Climate Change’, a series of talks by researchers and local Caribbean people about the impact of climate change. The event is being designed with the local Caribbean community.
Food Union uses food to bring communities together, to find healthier ways of producing and eating food, but also to think about and enact, community and civic identity. They will be running an event called ‘How does your garden grow’ at an allotment where participants will learn more about getting involved with the space.

2018 recipients in Hull & the Humber

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  • Community Forward is a not-for-profit organisation that helps hard-to-reach communities with basic catering skills and educational and recreational activities. They held drop-in photography sessions that used creativity to engage young people in science and technology.
  • St Stephen's Neighbourhood Centre offers a wide range of activities and events for the local community. They ran sessions looking at the science behind flight with their regular weekly groups, including those with disabilities, the elderly, and young people.
  • Toranj Tuition is a not-for-profit community organisation that stimulates social mobility and facilitates equal opportunities by providing free educational activities to people from low-income families. They ran scientist-led seminars for refugees and asylum-seekers in Hull, looking at the challenges and opportunities in the science sector for these groups.
  • Seeds of Change, a group run by the student’s union at Wilberforce Sixth Form, ran an event promoting healthy lifestyle choices to the students of the college.
  • Best Hope is an organisation that actively promotes social cohesion, community integration and access to services for disadvantaged people. They ran a two-day project for the young people they are working with to learn more about food science and nutrition.  

2017 recipients in Brighton & Hove

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  • Brighton Table Tennis Club used table tennis to engage local disadvantaged young people with maths. The group showcased PingMaths, an innovative approach to numeracy skills, which they use to support refugees and asylum seekers as well as other disadvantaged young people.
  • Plot 22 is a community allotment space that works with local groups, including a dementia gardening group and local migrant groups. They ran observation and survey sessions to help participants understand what lives in and around their ponds and why.
  • Stay Up Late is a charity promoting the rights of people with learning disabilities. Their user-led advisory group, “The Storm and Thunder Team”, participated in a technology workshop run by a local non-profit arts organisation in which they used electronics to explore sound creation.
  • The Whitehawk Inn is a community centre based in a disadvantaged area of Brighton. They held sessions to promote science-based careers as realistic and viable choices; activities included talks, workshops and 1:1 advice and guidance sessions.
  • Craggers Brighton and Hove Unemployed Climbers Group provides activities to boost the confidence of those who experience social exclusion. Their volunteers ran a day of natural history activities in Friston Forest.
  • Tarner Community Project is a neighbourhood charity supporting those experiencing high levels of deprivation in the Tarner area of Brighton. They held an evening of hands-on science activities for their NEET group.
  • One Church Brighton works almost exclusively with NEETs. Their barista training project ran an event using sensory science and lab testing protocols to explore how coffee is brewed and how people experience drinking it.
  • Kennedy St & Co. supports those recovering from addiction. Their community connections group invited those who were interested or already engaging in a recovery process to attend a workshop on the science behind mindfulness.
  • House of Cultural Curiosity is an arts organisation that brings communities together to express aspects of their culture. They invited participants to make their own shampoo from recycled materials, locally sourcing herbs, flowers and plants in and around local estates, and leftover beer from the local community pub.

For more information about the work the British Science Association does to support and engage with community groups, please visit our Community Engagement page and follow BSA Communities on Twitter.