A brief history
Space to Inspire came about as a result of Keighley Colleges decision to close the very popular STAR (Science, Technology, Aeronautics Research) Centre along with the accompanying FAB LAB.
The STAR Centre originally set up in 2004 with £1.5 million funding from the then Regional Development agency Yorkshire Forward. It’s aim was to Inspire young school age children to take an interest and then careers in STEM subjects using the inherent fascination children have with space. To this end the STAR Centre was very successful with tens of thousands of children visiting over the seventeen years the College hosted it. The STAR Centre consisted of a mock up but functional mission control, a Martian landscape, space lab, planetarium and robotics workshop. The FAB LAB is a state of the art manufacturing facility with machines such as laser cutters, 3d printers, CNC milling machine etc This facility was available for industry and in the evenings for hobbyists. The FAB LAB was not sufficiently self financing so the decision was taken to amalgamate the FAB LAB into the STAR Centre. The combined STAR centre operated from 2016.
Following the Colleges decision in 2019 to close the combined STAR Centre due to it not fitting with the normal demographic of a College, a group of volunteers from various backgrounds decided to band together to try to save this superb facility for the people of the Keighley district. Following months of lobbying the assets of the combined STAR Centre were secured and Space to Inspire was born. Finding the funding and the building space to recreate the combined STAR Centre proved very difficult so it was decided to recreate just the FAB LAB in a much smaller premises, it was felt this could be up and running much quicker than trying to recreate the combined STAR Centre. Premises for this purpose were found in an old school in Haworth and rental terms agreed. The premises are in the now Haworth community hall and have been given the name Technology Works (TW).
Currently Technology Works has commissioned a new mezzanine floor being installed and all of the equipment has been installed with TW providing activities such as Mens Shed contributing to the mental health of men from the surrounding area, along with helping local industry with training and specific needs such as prototyping and special one-off manufacture. At the same time the outreach elements of the Star Centre can be delivered to schools e.g. mobile planetarium and robotics in schools along with Virtual Reality experiences from the TW base.
Our longer term aims are to develop a dedicated centre to radically evolve the whole concept. The recent report from the National STEM centre at York university clearly supports our beliefs that early educational interventions deliver large increases in outcomes.
Our links with Bradford University who are firmly behind our attempts to re-establish and reinvigorate the facility and their wish to have a hands-on support role shows how our plans map into their concept of how STEM education should be delivered.
The all-party parliamentary group report on diversity and inclusion in STEM education of June 2020 chaired by Chi Onwurah MP confirms our beliefs on inclusion and the foundation of the original challenges of gender discrimination laid out in the original Star Centre bid of two decades ago.