The British Science Association is proud to be working with The Reading Agency to help grow participation within underrepresented groups in a new education project. 

Whilst science centres, science festivals and other science learning providers are running a wide range of fantastic programmes and events they tend to cater to those who are already interested in science and to reach those who already have high science capital. The science communication community is recognising the need for more avenues to reach ‘underserved’ audiences from lower socio-economic backgrounds.  

This project is designed to bring together reading and science as a way of helping to tackle this problem. It draws on learning from a Paul Hamlyn Foundation funded Reading Agency programme which has shown the impact of empowering young people to help tackle local problems.  

Young people in selected libraries across the UK will develop and run creative activities to inspire children and their parents/carers to engage in reading and science. The young people will be supported by authors, illustrators, scientists/engineers and library staff. Their experience will help them to achieve CREST awards. The programme will focus on working in localities which are in the most socio-economically-deprived areas of the country. 

The project is in its initial planning phase. Programme delivery will begin in the late Spring and run until Spring 2022. It is being run as a pilot project and if a success, The Reading Agency is hoping to roll it out to libraries nationwide after 2022. 

The project is funded by Arts Council England, with additional funding from the Science, Technology and Facilities Council. It is being run by The Reading Agency in partnership with the British Science Assocation along with other science communication organisations, publishers and libraries. Partners include Libraries Connected, STEM Ambassadors, The Natural History Museum, the British Library, DK Publishing, Walker Books and Nosy Crow.