As part of our ongoing community engagement work, the British Science Association (BSA) runs a Community Leaders programme supported by funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The aim of the programme is to harness the passion and ideas of individuals who work with underrepresented audiences and to enhance their skills to enable them to become leaders of science engagement in their communities.

2018-2019 Community Leader, Carmel Britto (LPF Kiddies Club)
speaking at a British Science Week event. 

Each year, we recruit and train 12 individuals who are members of the BSA Community Engagement Network to become science ambassadors in their regions of the UK. Each Leader is carefully selected based on their strong and established relationships with their communities, which is why we believe they are the ones best placed to deliver high-quality, impactful science engagement.

Quote: It’s a great initiative and I see that not just my skills as a leader have developed, but it’s also good for the community who have previously not had any chance to get involved in a [science] project like this.

The programme aims to harness the passion and ideas of community group organisers working with traditionally underrepresented audiences in science. The outcomes include:

  • Community Leaders gaining confidence and expertise in delivering long-term science engagement activities.
  • Community Leaders feel part of the science communication sector.
  • Community Leaders develop relationships with each other and form a network with fellow Leaders.
  • Community Leaders being offered ways to stay actively involved with the BSA.
  • The BSA building a network of Community Leaders that can be drawn upon for ideas and support.
  • Community Leaders’ communities benefit and see their respective Community Leader as an advocate for science.

These individuals are drawn from volunteer and community sector organisations, of which there are over 160,000 in the UK. Most of these organisation (over 80%) are defined as “micro” or “small”, with an annual income of under £100,000. Yet their importance in serving local communities and addressing local needs is invaluable.

Through the Community Leaders programme, we upskill our group of participants, support them in developing long-term science engagement projects and help facilitate collaboration between their community groups and the science communication sector. Since the launch of the programme in 2018, Community Leaders has enabled dozens of individuals to flourish by building on their skills, boosting their confidence and offering support along the way.

Quote: Science is everywhere. It’s all around us, happening right under our noses. Being able to show, first-hand, how science is being practised a short walk from their home is powerful.

Meet our 2023-4 cohort of Community Leaders

Group photo of the 2023-4 Community Leaders 

Alison Purbrick, Preston Park

Ali is a peer support specialist at the Wellbeing hub at Preston Park, a holistic mental health support service in Brighton. As well as supporting a caseload of clients with one-to-one coaching support, she is also responsible for facilitating activities, arts and crafts, Singing for Fun, Dancing for Fun, the young person's group (18-35) and running activities for lots of themed weeks, including science, neurodiversity, and body confidence, to name just a few. The hub is open every day of the year and they strive to promote meaningful connections, mindful activity, keeping active, and a love of lifelong learning.

Barbara Czyznikowska, Project Polska

Barbara is the Founder and Chair of Project Polska. She is an experienced community strategist with professional practice developed across public sector, academia, and non-governmental organisations, where she has been leading and supporting projects on public dialogue, community development, health equity and grant funding.

Barbara is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and is an ardent advocate of science communication. Barbara’s interest lies in policy focused research with an emphasis on creating community cohesiveness, particularly around issues that affect the health and wellbeing of underserved communities.

Kerry MacKay, The GRAB Trust

The GRAB Trust (Group for Recycling in Argyll and Bute) is all about reducing waste to help protect the beautiful local environment of Argyll & Bute in Scotland. As the Beaches and Marine Litter Project Education Officer, Kerry loves sharing the wonders of the beaches and oceans with schools and the community. Beach cleans are her bread and butter and talking about how we can look after the amazing local surroundings by reducing our waste. Kerry is also a keen scuba diver in her free time and loves sharing stories from her bubble blowing adventures and helping everyone enjoy and understand the nature we have, and how it’s all connected.

Oriyomi Okeyinka, Lifegate Outreach Centre

By volunteering as the science and engineering innovation outreach coordinator at the Lifegate Outreach Centre, a development charity organisation in Walsall, Oriyomi makes a big difference to her community.

Oriyomi is a civil engineer, and she is very passionate about inspiring children, young people, including those from ethnic minority backgrounds, and local community residents to engage in science and engineering. She achieves this through her work at the Lifegate Outreach Centre, where she writes proposals for impactful science engagement activities.

Wardeh Al Nasir, Community Thriving Together

Syrian refugee, Wardeh, is the founder and one of the directors of Community Thriving Together CIC. She has been living in the UK for five years now, where she has gained lots of experience supporting charities and community projects.

Wardeh has volunteered with the NHS, The Syrian Association Rethink Rebuild, the Ardwick and Longsight MutuL Aid Group and further voluntary work for supporting individuals and communities. She has the skills and passion for working with communities, which is why she wanted to join the Community Leaders programme.

Immaculata Nnabuko, Hand of Solace

Immaculata is the founder of Hand of Solace. She is a dedicated social worker working for Aberdeen City Council, with a decade of experience working with children.

With a passion for making a positive impact on the lives of vulnerable children, Immaculata established Hand of Solace as a platform to provide support, guidance, and solace to those in need. Hand of Solace is a compassionate, charitable organisation that aims to create a safe and nurturing environment and support for children facing various challenges. They offer a range of services and resources to empower and uplift young people especially those from ethnic minority backgrounds, ensuring they have the opportunity to thrive and succeed.

Alison Jones, Community Little Hulton

Community Little Hulton is a local charity based in Salford, Greater Manchester, that is run by the residents of Little Hulton, for the residents of Little Hulton.

Alison works with the charity to build STEM activities into their youth activities, and last year ran an intergenerational event to celebrate British Science Week. Alison is looking to build more science-based activities into the charity’s events to engage, inspire and amuse the local communities.

Julie Walters-Nisbett, Phoenix Agenda Supplementary School

Julie loves teaching science – she has been teaching secondary science for over 23 years! Julie strongly believes that everything can be related to science. As the co-founder and lead teacher of science for the Phoenix Agenda Supplementary School, Julie enjoys teaching Black students and the community about the importance of STEM.

Last year, Phoenix held their second Science Fair at the African Caribbean Centre, Leicester. The students presented on their own science projects, and members of the community who work in STEM professions spoke to them about entry into STEM careers.

Lara Daniel, Excel Beyond Barriers

Lara is a community leader based in a multicultural community. Her work is around providing opportunity for young people in underrepresented communities to excel beyond barriers through empowerment, mentoring, training, and career development projects.

Tahera Khanam, Better We

In response to the aftermath of COVID-19, Tahera set up Better We CIC, helping to reconnect people with each other to improve social, physical and mental wellbeing. Being the winner of Be Proud Awards 2023 for increasing skills and employment within the community, Tahera strives to increase educational skills as well as providing a variety of services to improve community wellbeing. With a focus on inclusivity, she coordinates STEM events, British Science Week sessions, and youth, supplementary, homework, and holiday clubs, aiming to create an enjoyable, diverse learning environment to enhance STEM education and opportunities for children.

Shamila Younas, Creativity Box

Shamila is a community leader based in Oldham. One of her passions is to develop activities that will inspire children to understand the basic concepts in science in a fun and friendly environment. Oldham is a disadvantaged area and Shamila aims to inspire as many children as possible to get involved in science activities and to inspire them to develop a career in science. 

Carey Osborne, CETMA

Carey, a Registered General Nurse with an interest in mental health, works as project officer at CETMA (Community Engagement, Technology, Media & Arts). CETMA is a social enterprise that provides social engagement, training, health and well-being through the development of unique sustainable projects for individuals, organisations and businesses. Founded originally as in 2008, CETMA has steadily evolved throughout the years into becoming a prominent presence in the local community. CETMA is a non-profit organisation hoping to expand to international projects over the coming years.

Previous cohorts

Our 2022-2023 Community Leaders:

Find out more about our 2022/2023 Community Leaders

Our 2021-2022 Community Leaders:

Find out more about our 2021/2022 Community Leaders

Our 2020-2021 Community Leaders:

Our 2019-2020 Community Leaders:

  • Amar Azam, Unleashing Potential 
  • Jackie Barnes, It’s Your Life 
  • Nicola Brown, Doncaster Alcohol Services 
  • Paul Hyde, Whippet Up 
  • Juliette Jackson, Seadream Education
  • Zaffer Khan, One Voice Blackburn
  • Erika Lye, Mountain Movers
  • Claudia McFarlane, African Caribbean Achievement Project
  • Neil McLaughlin, Barnet Libraries
  • Marsha Fisher, Sutton African and Caribbean Cultural Organisation
  • Lindsay White, Rother Voluntary Action 

More on our 2019/2020 Community Leaders

Blog: Celebrating our Community Leaders

Our 2018-2019 Community Leaders:

  • Fawaz Alghofari, Syrian Community of Leeds
  • Mohammed Attaur Rahman, Wardleworth Community Centre 
  • Carmel Britto, LPF Kiddies Club
  • Ann Fomukong-Boden, Kakou
  • Carl Gillam, Canolfan Ebeneser
  • Saoirse Higgins, Papay Development Trust
  • Gemma Martin, Wheal Martyn
  • Mathew Rogers, St Michael's Youth Project
  • Leah Vellam-Steptoe, Frank Wise School
  • Stephen Williams, OASIS Community Centre and Gardens
  • Yang Zhou, Mandarin Speakers Association Derry

Find out more about our 2018/2019 Community Leaders

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.

If you have any questions about the programme, please email [email protected].