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Bruntwood SciTech partners with Cambridgeshire Council’s Youth Engagement Team to run furniture design competition at Melbourn Science Park for local primary school pupils.

News, Cambridge
A group of young children stood in front of a tree smiling towards the camera

60 pupils aged between 9 and 11 from Melbourn Primary School have been invited to help design street furniture that will be incorporated into the redevelopment of Melbourn Science Park, the campus embedded in their local community that will offer exciting future opportunities for them in the world of science and tech.

Five of the pupils’ creations have been chosen to be put into production and fully realised into functional street furniture. The designs include a sausage dog shaped bench that barks, a rainbow community and kindness themed bench, and a bird shaped picnic table. Each of these amazing pieces will be added to the site during its redevelopment for the whole of Melbourn’s community to enjoy.

Teacher holding microphone to four children holding their creative artwork

As part of the project, pupils, parents, carers and staff from the Primary School were taken on a tour of the Park and attended a workshop hosted by Cambridgeshire Council's Youth Engagement Team and the Landscape Architect lead for Melbourn Science Park, Sarah Harris. Each pupil then took part in an interactive quiz about STEM innovation that has happened at Melbourn Science Park to date, before designing their own bench and picnic table for the redevelopment. Pupils were given full creative licence in terms of colour, material and shape. 

Jamie Clyde, Bruntwood SciTech’s Director for the Southern Region said: “This is a really exciting project. Not only are the pupils involved in a creative design process at Melbourn Science Park, they also gain an insight into STEM careers and future job opportunities that could lie ahead for them in their own village. With inspirational leadership from Dr Bonnie Kwok, the Principal Urban Designer from Cambridgeshire Council’s Planning team, and Landscape Architect Sarah Harris from Planit IT Limited, the children are learning to appreciate that they can aspire to whatever they choose.”

Urban Designer from Cambridgeshire Council’s Planning Department, Tom Davis, said: “The importance of this project is that it reaches out to groups in society who would not usually be involved in the planning and design process. In this case, the local children are able to get involved, see the proposed plans for Melbourn Science Park, ask questions and give feedback. They can offer creative ideas and input into street furniture design which they will use in the future. They get to find out first-hand what is going on in their village and see what’s going to affect them in the future.”

Sarah Harris, from Planit IT Limited, said: “Opening up the science park to the wider community is a great thing! It is a key move in ensuring the future of the Park is an asset to Melbourn. The engagement with local school children to create a piece of street furniture is even more special and will hopefully be a catalyst in strengthening the relationship between Melbourn Science Park and the wider community.”

Teacher  from Melbourn Primary School teaching a class full of children

Pupils were happy to share their thoughts on having a role to play in the design of the redevelopment. Year 5 pupil Jack explained: “It’s nice to know that there is something for everyone on the Park, not just the people who work there. I really enjoyed learning about the benches and how we can take part in designing them.”

Year 5 pupil Esme said: “I learnt lots about design and build and how different materials are used in the process and can work in different ways. I already take my dog for walks in the Science Park, and I like how it is being encouraged for us all to use the park and enjoy nature there.” 

Young school girl smiling at the camera drawing

District Councillor and Melbourn Parish Councillor, Sally Ann Hart, also attended the workshop with pupils and staff and said of the project: “It was interesting to hear how many children have visited the Park already with their families and dogs - and it’s a perfect place to learn to ride a bike apparently!” 

Matt Humphries, Community and Commercial Manager for Melbourn Science Park, said: “This project has been a fantastic way to engage with local children, hear their feedback and add their designs to the Park. Their sense of pride in putting their own creative stamp onto furniture that will be used for generations to come by the local community has been truly heartwarming. The ideas were phenomenal and I'm looking forward to seeing these creations come to life on our Campus!”

a group of school children stood in front of a tree
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