A team of dedicated staff and students based at MRC CRM have been awarded the very first Social Responsibility and Sustainability Community Partnership Award.
The Awards are an addition to the current portfolio of Sustainability Awards run by the Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability. The aim of the Awards is to recognise University staff and students who have partnered with local communities on initiatives that have had positive social impact for the community partners.
The “MRC CRM Community Science Engagement project”, led by Dr Cathy Southworth, works with the local Craigmillar community to create opportunities for engaging with science.
Working in communal spaces and schools, as well as at MRC CRM, the project has been developing a wide collection of activities. This includes a community science festival where young people and researchers showcase a range of science activities (this year held over 3 days between 27-29 March), a mentoring scheme at Castlebrae Community High School, and holiday science clubs for local primary school children.
The activities have been co-developed with a range of community partners to ensure they are relevant, meaningful and worthwhile for all those involved. Partners include the Community Alliance Trust, the White House Kitchen, Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust, Castlebrae High School, and primary schools Castleview, Niddrie Mill and St Francis.
Cathy Southworth said:
“The goal is the same for both the project members and the local leaders: to enrich the lives of those who live and work in the community. By working together, it is possible to maximise the impacts and create life-enriching experiences that would not have occurred or been thought of by working alone.”
An independent evaluator commented:
“The Community Science Festivals were two of the most memorable events I have observed in over 13 years of evaluating public engagement activities. Outstanding was the palpable sense of shared pride in what was achieved by pupils, parents/ carers and university participants coming together in a truly community-centred venue to explore significant science topics and have fun.”
The Community Engagement team are currently planning events in May and June, including A World of Science on 14 June: a celebration of our diverse scientific and local communities.