A NEW community funding offer aims to inspire more young people from marginalised and economically-deprived backgrounds in West Somerset about technology, science, and engineering. 

Registered charities and non-profit companies could receive up to £5,000 from National Grid Electricity Distribution (NGED) to engage children in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) activities.

Unregistered community organisations can apply for up to £2,000.

National Grid’s Community Matters Fund is offering £250,000 to boost engagement and take learning beyond the national curriculum.

Successful projects should meet at least one of the following themes:

  • Open the eyes of a new generation to the exciting possibilities of a career in STEM, for example, projects which bring the area to life in a lively and engaging way

  • Inspire further confidence and widen the skills of those already interested in STEM, for example via hands-on workshops and interactive experiments

  • Break down barriers with access to tools, time, and resources for those for whom STEM’s potential may be unfamiliar, for example, launching after-school coding clubs or giving access to 3D printers

NGED community engagement manager Ellie Patey said: “Big challenges facing schools around resources, time allocation, and funding have proven major barriers to engaging kids with this vital area of learning.

“National Grid is committed to widening the appeal of these exciting subjects.

“We particularly welcome West Somerset-based projects focussed on supporting young people from disadvantaged or underrepresented backgrounds for whom STEM feels unfamiliar, out of reach, or even intimidating.

“Inspiring the STEM leaders of tomorrow not only supports National Grid’s wider objectives to deliver a clean, fair, and affordable energy future, but also plays a part in meeting the anticipated 400,000 roles needed between now and 2050 to reach the UK’s net zero targets.”

Applications open on Wednesday (March 6) and close on Wednesday, March 27.

Grants for successful applicants will be distributed in April.

NGED has awarded £10 million through the fund to groups in the South West, the Midlands, and South Wales since launching in 2021.

More information about the fund can be found here.