Helping all parts of our community to understand the science in their lives
The Festival organising team is part of a community group called the Vision Group for Sidmouth (VGS) which started in 2005 – the VGS is part of the Transition Town Movement. https://www.visionforsidmouth.org/ The Science Festival is an educational project which started in 2012. http://www.sidmouthsciencefestival.org/ The 2015 Festival will be the fourth and is a community project, organised and delivered by volunteers from all walks of life. Our 2014 festival required 1¼ man-years of voluntary effort to deliver the event with 120 volunteers at the Saturday event alone. 2015 will require a similar level of input.
The festival aims to foster public understanding of the relevance of science to their daily lives by challenging their thinking about science and by providing learning opportunities for people of all ages. This will enhance options for the wider local community to engage with science and to understand how it impacts on our lives. As part of the development at Cranbrook, a Science Park at Exeter is being constructed and it would be beneficial for local people in Sidmouth to be aware of scientific issues and thus open up potential career opportunities in the park. There are also new job opportunities in the Renewable Energy sector in the South West, the science behind which is not widely understood.
In addition, STEM understanding in our communities supports better decision making and particularly inspires our young and working population to consider STEM careers to support the UK economy. Government is currently very supportive in recognising that STEM education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy, and enables the next generation of innovators. Innovation leads to new products and processes that sustain our economy.
In addition, communities are required to contribute to major decisions eg nuclear energy, stem cell research, GM crop - whether through the democratic process or response to campaigning or news headlines. A better understanding of scientific analysis can lead to more considered decision making.
How would this funding have an impact on your community?
The funding will contribute towards venue costs. The 2015 project cost is £11500 and is currently underfunded.
The festival will benefit individuals and organisations in many different ways. • There will be a wide range of individual participants, mentioned elsewhere in this application, such as school students, families and retired people of all socio-economic status. • Most events are free or carry a nominal charge for participants, thereby maximising access for all sections of our community. • Local voluntary organisations such as Sidmouth Museum, NLO, SVA and Plant Heritage will have an opportunity to raise their profile among the local community. • Local businesses, most notably shops and cafes, will benefit from increased trade. • The festival will further strengthen the existing strong links between key local community institutions and residents: schools, emergency services, town and district councils. • The town as a whole, with all its facets and attractions, will benefit in less obvious and measurable ways from a festival which is starting to develop a national (and even international) reputation for quality and accessibility. In summary, beneficiaries of the festival will be wide and diverse.
The 2014 festival achieved 2500 attendances and supported over 1000 students events in schools – an information sheet for 2014 can be provided.
"Sidmouth Science Festival is developing a great reputation in the area which has led to a growth in the range and number of events. Perhaps this is because it provides an opportunity for people to become involved in science in a non- threatening, non-boffin way and shows the public just how much of our lives is based around STEM subjects. Dave Bramley, Chair"