Sidmouth Science Festival 2020

by Alan Goodson in Sidmouth, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 22nd February 2020 we successfully raised £4,385 ( + est. £463.75 Gift Aid ) with 36 supporters in 35 days

The Science Festival is aimed at all parts of the community. It comprises of school projects, talks, demonstrations and hand-on activIties.

by Alan Goodson in Sidmouth, England, United Kingdom

 New stretch target

More school projects and focus on younger people. We also want to introduce the science festival to youth clubs/centres for the first time.

We want to increase the quality and reach of the festival activities.

Sidmouth Science Festival 2020 -

Provide a Science Festival that will:

- inform, educate and inspire attendees, particularly students in East Devon 

- show how STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines impact on our everyday lives by integrating art, music, comedy and drama into the events 

- engage all age groups and all parts of the community – particularly young people in local schools and where possible in local youth centres.

New stretch target 

The aim of the organisers is to build on the current strong foundation of the 2019 Science Festival, to reach out to even more parts of the community, particularly those who would not normally engage with STEM subjects such as the more socially disadvantaged or those less confident with this subject matter. In addition, the Science Festival aims to play a part in promoting STEM subjects as a career option for young people and reinforces the importance of these subjects to our society.

How would the Community benefit from supporting the 2020 Sidmouth Science Festival?

1. Promotes the well-being of the people and community

The festival will provide numerous opportunities for individuals and groups to engage in enjoyable, rewarding, informative and meaningful activities which will enhance the well-being of both individual and community. The festival is designed to offer broad appeal by including a range of events from popular to serious science as well as exhibitions of arts, music, drama, medical and how they can combat climate change.  

2. Enhances and/or preserves the heritage 

Another key part of the event will be promoting Sidmouth`s position within the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. To this end we aim to showcase our geological heritage through the involvement of the Sidmouth Museum and the Jurassic Coast Trust. Previous festivals delivered a very successful number of varied geoscience events that will form a template for 2020. 

The Norman Lockyer Observatory (NLO) is also a key destination for the festival. Attracting new visitors to this historic science venue will encourage the local community, members and visitors alike to take a more active role in the Observatory, thus supporting its long-term prosperity. The NLO will stage several events including a family day on Sunday Oct 18th, 2020 – the focus this year will be on “making, operating and taking home” which will not only inform but practise important hand skills. 

3. Contributes to the viability and vitality of the economy 

Sidmouth has a national brand which attracts people who embrace and enjoy the natural surroundings of our Regency town. The Science Festival sits very well with other cultural events and festivals which are established or developing.  The organisers will work to create events around the town that will support shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels. The Festival will attract visitors to the town with various events that attract people. We will market our events in Exeter and Exmouth where there is high population density. Pint of Science events will be held at local pubs in the evening. A more informed and inspirational way of thinking about STEM subjects, will equip youth for the job market, in particular the developing Exeter Science Park. The future prosperity of Devon, the whole of the UK, depends on educating and inspiring a workforce with skills and expertise in STEM subjects. 

4. Improves the cohesiveness of the community 

With the support of the Sidmouth College and Primary School Head teachers we aim to involve over 1600 (achieved in 2019) local students in science and science related activities with the festival. As well as science and art projects, senior students will be given the opportunity to act as Science Ambassadors and contribute to the delivery of the event. They will be mentored in their chosen fields e.g. marketing, IT and project management, to ensure the experience they gain can be cited in their CVs when applying to future employers or for university places. We are particularly proud of the diversity and inclusion of the festival. With organisations contributing to or actively supporting the festival ranging from the Parish Church, Sidmouth in Bloom, Sid Vale Association, Rotary Club of Sidmouth (stewarding), Art Society, Devonshire Association, NLO and the Sailing Club.  Our volunteers’ range in age from 15 years old to the over 80s.    

5.  Why the Community would benefit from crowdfunding? 

The Sidmouth Science Festival Team are asking for crowdfunding for the following reasons:

To secure income for core costs in 2020 - to invite the best experts/presenters and use the best venues.

To build a more robust Sidmouth Schools’ programme of activities. 

The additional funding would pay for any fees, travelling expenses and festival equipment costs. 

To provide our audience festival content through internet-based means. We must keep our web site and social media feeds in line with the expectations of a younger audience – but inevitably this will incur on-going maintenance costs

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