Eureka! along with over 40 members of the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC), has today joined the Science Centres For Our Future campaign, which is calling on the government to set up an Emergency Resilience Fund to support the UK’s world-class network of regional Science Centres.
Eureka! has been a successful self-sustaining charity for 28 years with no government funding to support running costs. Due to Covid-19, Eureka! closed its doors to visitors in March, cancelled education programmes and stopped all events, cutting off every vital revenue stream for the charity.
To highlight the crucial role that UK Science Centres play in making science accessible to all, Eureka! is joining a nationwide campaign which is being supported by some of the UK’s leading science advocates including Professor Alice Roberts.
The Science Centres For Our Future campaign (#ScienceCentresForOurFuture) supports ASDC’s submission to government, asking it to urgently grant £25 million in Emergency Resilience Funding to secure the future of the whole network of UK Science Centres. Future-focussed Science Centres like Eureka! are unable to access to the Arts Council or Heritage Emergency grants and, without government support, many UK Science Centres are at risk.
At a time when science is so important and with major global challenges ahead from both Covid-19 and climate change, Science Centres provide our regional cities and towns with crucial opportunities to access science, in an approachable and engaging way, helping to inspire our next generation of scientists and engineers.
Eureka! is a valuable community resource, drawing more than 300,000 visitors to the region annually, from across the UK. Nationally, hands-on Science and Discovery Centres like Eureka! welcome over 13 million people in regions outside London and contribute over £200million per year to local economies.
Eureka! is a vitally important resource for Yorkshire. Many will have fond memories of school visits and family days out, learning new things and being inspired by interactive and hands-on experiences such as examining the giant teeth, talking with the museum robot and watching Archimedes take his bath! Many children and young people have been inspired by their visit to Eureka!, going on to pursue studies and careers in science – and more will follow in their footsteps.
But, in lockdown and with no or significantly reduced revenue streams, Science Centres face a chronic funding gap. As charities, centres like Eureka! cannot take on large debts as, whilst the furlough has been hugely helpful, costs like utility bills, insurance, payroll, site security and rents still need to be paid.