Charlie Director of Communications

Our Young Steering Group, made up of some of the most ambitious children we have ever met, have been recognised for their dedication and passion in volunteering.

They’re creative, enthusiastic, opinionated and now award winning! Over the past two years our Young Steering Group have all had one thing in common – to work together to drive change through the Charity and at the Science Centre, and to make science accessible to as many young people across the country as they can.

And now that hardwork has been recognised on a national scale as the group were presented with the Marsh Volunteer Youth Prize Award in partnership with the Association of Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC). The award usually only recognises one volunteer who has made an outstanding contribution to the science, discovery centre or museum where they are based. However, the awards panel were so impressed with what the youth team have been doing that they made an exception to honour them as a group and in addition to an individual winner.

The awards panel noted that it was the children’s passion for science and nature and willingness to contribute their time and experience to support the Charity’s development that shone through. From representing the voices of children in their communities to testing out new exhibits to sharing ideas for new activities, the group have been instrumental in shaping the future of the Charity. Of particular note was the work they have done to shape and develop a programme of outdoor science engagement that has seen their suggestions go through co-creation sessions and trials into real activities that thousands of visitors are now able to enjoy.

Our Chief Executive, Ben Ward, who joins the children's sessions frequently, had this to say: ‘This award couldn’t have gone to a more hard-working and knowledgeable group of children. They have put in so much dedication, passion and enthusiasm over the past two years to help us engage young people with science. I love working with them and am thrilled that they have been recognised nationally.’

Shaaron Leverment, Chief Executive of the ASDC, who came and met the children to present them with their award, commented: “It was a highlight of 2023 to come to present these brilliant young volunteers with their prizes. Meeting some of their families, hearing their stories and passion for science and nature was an utter privilege. These young advocates and activists are making a real difference, not just to Wonderseekers but beyond - and they’ve even created a brand new national award for ASDC!”

Our Young Steering Group, made up of children aged between six and twelve, are on a mission to make sure that the charity and the Science Centre are fun, inclusive, immersive, interactive and accessible. They provide our management team with valuable insights into scientific topics that are important to young people, help determine how the Charity can make a difference and speak to other young people, ensuring science is available to all children.

The Marsh Trust Volunteer of the Year Award in partnership with the ASDC, celebrates and shares inspiring examples of volunteer contributions and impacts within science centres and museums in the UK. An awards ceremony was held at the ASDC conference at W5 Science and Discovery Centre where, Monica Davey, friend of the Marsh Charitable Trust, presented certificates and prizes to the overall winner Polly Hutchison from the Natural History Museum.

Image shows (from left to right): Sandie Fisher from the Scottish Seabird Centre who accepted the highly commended award on behalf of their volunteer Sandy Forrest, Monica Davey, friend of the Marsh Charitable Trust, overall winner Polly Hutchinson from the Natural History Museum, Shaaron Leverment of the ASDC and Jo Henessey, Director of Visitor Experience at Wonderseekers who collected the Youth Prize on behalf of the Young Steering Group.

A group of people celebrate winning award certificates