A Calderdale MP called on the government to help support the Eureka! Children’s Museum in Halifax, which has been severely affected by the pandemic.
Holly Lynch, MP for Halifax, made a speech to Parliament calling on the government to support centres like Eureka! in order to develop a new generation of scientists.
She emphasised the importance of centres like Eureka! in promoting science, technology, maths and engineering (STEM) subjects among youngsters, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds.
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She said: “Science and discovery centres play a crucial role in inspiring the next generation of scientists and researchers, as well as broadening access to STEM subjects by making them more accessible.
“This is absolutely essential for those from disadvantaged backgrounds and more marginalised communities.
“This past year has shown us just how crucial it is to nurture the next generation of scientists and big thinkers as without them the COVID vaccine would simply not have been possible.”
Prior to lockdown, Eureka attracted 315,000 visitors a year, of which 19% were from high levels of deprivation.
Eureka said: “As an educational charity, our role in schools programming is vital for many children in the region.
“With significant areas of multiple deprivation surrounding Eureka! in Halifax, Bradford, Manchester, Huddersfield and Leeds, we also represent the only cultural experience many of these children ever experience.
Eureka has been severely hit by the pandemic, forcing them to spend over £1million of their available reserves.
They were also forced to make a third of their workforce redundant, and permanently close their nursery.
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They have been able to rely on government Covid grants, the furlough scheme and the reduced VAT rates for hospitality businesses.
But, like other science museums, they are ineligible for any significant support from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s Arts Rescue Package.
They have applied for a £112,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, but they are still awaiting a decision.
Eureka! said: “We would like the government to view Science and Discovery Centres as being as vital to the future of our children as they do traditional museums and arts venues, and provide the same level of support as these other cultural institutions have benefited from to safeguard our future.”