The Dorothy Parkes Centre is an award-winning community centre based in Smethwick, an area in the Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell in the West Midlands. They provide a safe place of welcome and opportunity for the local and wider community.
There is a variety of groups, classes, and activities that are available at the centre which all aim to help tackle local issues.
Aim of the project
The Centre had the aim to deliver eight science shows, during the school holidays over a twelve-month period and engage an audience who would not normally participate in learning in environments like this. The three-hour long sessions were themed around seasonal times of the year. They were led by science communicators from award-winning STEM organisation Femtinos.
Continuing, the aim with the project was to also raise the profile of STEM skills and careers. Dorothy Parkes thought that the members of the local community did not know the value of STEM and how it was linked to a diverse range of careers.
What impact has it made?
A £20,000 grant was awarded to Dorothy Parkes Centre. The project was popular in the area with a range of events happening throughout the year. Halloween, Easter & Commonwealth were all fun and interesting themes to engage the young community. Each session welcomed 50 young people and 50 parents to take part.
To build on the grants legacy, sessions were filmed and then uploaded to YouTube for wider audiences to view and the accessibility to do it from home.
‘We are delighted to have had the opportunity to run this project for the last twelve months. The quality of the shows and the feedback received was fantastic and it will be missed. A lot of families commented on what a great offer it was during the school holidays and the fact it was educational helped the children and even some of the parents.’
Why did they receive the grant?
The centre wanted the local community to view the centre as a one stop hub for the community. STEM was completely missing from the schedule and they hope they can continue the sessions for the wider community.
The project application was all about the advancement of STEM and education for the public benefit within the Smethwick area of Sandwell. The Dorothy Parkes Centre wanted to address the STEM skills gap through education and re-education of STEM skills for children and parents.