The North East of England has a proud tradition of inventions – from Stephenson’s Rocket to the first electric lightbulb – and today North East companies are at the forefront of new innovations in renewable energy, so it is fitting that a brand new initiative encouraging children to invent new ways to save energy is launching in Redcar this month.
The Little Inventors Pioneers Energy Challenge is a free initiative funded by Arts Council England to get children aged 8-12 across the North East to think up ideas to generate energy, save energy or use energy better. Ideas can be submitted online, then 15 lucky young people from Tees Valley, Sunderland and Northumberland will be chosen to work with the Little Inventors team, professional makers and designers, who will help turn their inventions from idea to reality for an exhibition in Tees Valley in summer 2020.
Sunderland-born Chief Inventor at Little Inventors, Dominic Wilcox said, “The world has many challenges and problems to solve and we need lots more creative and inventive thinkers to solve them. Children in the North East are fantastically creative and it’s vital that they are supported and encouraged to keep their creative spirit into adulthood. Energy is such an important part of our future and we need to work out how to create more of it and reduce the waste of energy. We’re really honoured that the Arts Council England are supporting this amazing project to inspire and challenge the children of the North East to solve one of the big challenges of the 21st century.”
Little Inventors turn children’s ideas into reality. Born from the success of the Inventors! project commissioned by The Cultural Spring in Sunderland in late 2015, the team now work with partners across the world. Last year, Little Inventors’ North 2030 project was part of the Great Exhibition of the North. Over 2,000 ideas were submitted and 17 were featured in a major exhibition in the Discovery Museum, Newcastle. Little Inventors also worked with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA); more than 3,000 ideas were entered, with many currently on display in the Montreal Science Centre. And five invention models from the Inventors! project in Sunderland in 2016 are now in the permanent collection at the V&A Museum.
10 year old Arthur from Stockton-on-Tees took part in North 2030, inventing the Supergrow 11000 for Monty Don and gardeners everywhere. Arthur was interviewed by Steph McGovern on BBC Breakfast and met one of his gardening heroes, Adam Frost when his invention was featured on BBC Gardeners’ World. “Last year my invention, the Supergrow 11000 was made real and I was interviewed on national television, met celebrities and I was on my favourite TV show. The best bit was seeing the first video of the model of my invention idea. What I like most about inventing is that anything I think of can be made real!”
The Pioneers Energy Challenge will be launched at the Festival of Thrift in Kirkleatham, Redcar on 14-15 September. Entry is free and children will get to meet the Little Inventors team, watch a film about the Pioneers Energy Challenge and have the chance to make their own wind turbine. For more information visit pioneers.littleinventors.org