A new future-thinking science and discovery centre aimed at bringing to life important educational skills for children and young people has now secured more than 75% of its funding – and is set to open in 2022.
Eureka! Mersey, a sister attraction to Eureka! in Halifax, has today seen a £6.6m grant approved from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Strategic Investment Fund. It is a huge boost towards the £11.75m total needed and adds to £3m approved last year from the Inspiring Science Fund, co-funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Wellcome Trust.
Opening on Wirral waterfront and linked by ferry to Liverpool, it will take over part of the current Seacombe ferry terminal and Spaceport. Work has already begun on co-creating ideas with local children and young people for the sort of exhibits it will house.
Eureka! Mersey will bring together families, children and young people from across the North West to explore science, technology and innovation. The world-class attraction will encourage young people to learn more about themselves and the impact they can have on the world around them. It will also nurture their interest in future careers in science and technology.
Eureka!’s Chief Executive Leigh-Anne Stradeski said: “Eureka! Mersey will be truly unique as a visitor attraction and it is an evolution in our work to inspire and raise the aspirations of children and young people. Eureka! Mersey will change the lives and futures of our young visitors by positively engaging them in the skills and the jobs that will shape the country’s future and theirs.
“As with everything we do at Eureka!, this will be achieved through fun, innovative and ground-breaking exhibits alongside partnerships with arts and creative organisations.”
Leigh-Anne added: “We believe the strength of our Eureka! brand and existing expertise can create an outstanding centre that will make the biggest impact possible among local communities. This is especially true for those living locally in Wirral who traditionally don’t access out-of-school cultural and educational opportunities.
“One of the most important elements for Eureka! Mersey’s success is that we are already working closely on a co-creation programme with young people in the area to devise content that will be uniquely relevant to them and to the wider region. Children and young people have been working with Eureka! and our partners Ørsted, Unilever, Sci-tech Daresbury, Arup and Liverpool John Moore’s University to ensure that when we open Eureka! Mersey, it will be the most visitor-led attraction in the UK.”
Eureka! Mersey will also have an area dedicated to 0-5s and is aiming to attract local visitors, those from the wider North West and from across the country. Work on the plans first began in 2014 and the attraction will now be formally considered independently by Wirral Council’s planning committee. A decision is expected in August.
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region (LCR), said: “Our city region is already home to some of the best museums in the country. The proposed new attraction’s focus, and links with local businesses and young people’s groups, ties in perfectly with the city region’s growth sectors and our plans to ensure young people have the skills they need to succeed in tomorrow’s workplace.”