Lambeth Community Programme

In September 2017 we launched the Lambeth Community Programme, a two-year community programme for residents of the borough of Lambeth. We offered our community a free of charge programme of events and activities from dynamic schools sessions to Tinkering Clubs at the weekends as well as a number of free tickets for Lambeth families to attend Imagination Lab public programme events.

The Lambeth Community Programme has made a significant contribution to the iOi’s reach and impact in the borough, and we are delighted with its success. Over the course of the two-year programme (September 2017 to August 2019) we reached 4,196 Lambeth residents (2,638 children and 1,558 adults) to take part in a wide range of activities.

Activities delivered through the Lambeth Community Programme have included crafts, coding, mechanics, robot-building, storytelling, sensory exploration, electronics, dance and movement.

From September 2017 to August 2019 we delivered 63 events as part of the Lambeth Community Programme: 13 Tinkering Clubs, 25 Lab Learn sessions, 8 volunteer training events, 13 Lab Life sessions and four special events in partnership with Peabody social housing and the engineering organisation Kids Invent Stuff. We also offered free accessibility tickets to five Lab Live events.

Volunteering is a key aspect of the Lambeth Community Programme. We developed a Volunteer Programme that welcomes individuals from Lambeth and other local boroughs, aiming to up-skill local residents by offering them volunteer training at the Lab. In the first year of the programme, we welcomed 64 new volunteers, surpassing our initial target of 40 each year of the programme. At our Volunteer Evenings, local residents have the opportunity to use new technologies and learn new skills, as well as gain confidence in facilitation and event delivery. We now have an active community of 289 volunteers.

Of the participants who chose to share their information with us, 60% described their ethnicity as other than White British, with a wide range of ethnicities represented. We are delighted that the diversity of our programme has grown to mirror the diversity of Lambeth, and that the Imagination Lab has provided a welcoming space for all.

To complement the programme of community events, we introduced the Lambeth Accessibility Programme to provide local Lambeth residents with free tickets to our large-scale iOi Lab Live events. The Accessibility Programme has proven to be extremely popular, with ticket uptake consistently at 100%. Over the last two years we have allocated a total of 356 Lambeth Accessibility Tickets, which gave Lambeth residents free access to all our lab live events.

Lab Learn events facilitate cross-disciplinary learning, drawing together the arts, sciences, design and digital technologies under engaging themes that respond to the real world. 3 of our Lab Learn events were tailored for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) – provision for SEND pupils is often limited and these sessions were particularly well received.

The Lambeth Community Programme has enabled the iOi to build strong ongoing relationships with schools and families across Lambeth. We are incredibly pleased to have received resoundingly positive feedback from children, teachers and parents alike, and are proud of the community’s positive engagement with the iOi and the Imagination Lab. 

In 2017, 91% of teachers who visited the imagination Lab with their students said we inspired them to rethink their techniques; over 80% of families said that they interacted more as a family than they usually would on a typical day out and over 95% of visitors would recommend an iOi event to others. 84% of children in 2017 reported that they felt more positive about their talents and potential after visiting an iOi event.

We are so grateful to all the staff and Trustees of the Rangoonwala Foundation for their continuing support. Without their commitment we would not have been able to deliver the Lambeth Community Programme, build the strong foundations from which we have grown, or to prove the impact of our work.