We are delighted to announce that Andi Oliver has joined the Institute of Imagination (iOi) as our new Ambassador!

London, March 2023

In celebration of World Imagination Day on 14th March, we are delighted to announce Andi Oliver has joined the Institute of Imagination (iOi) as our new brand ambassador, to support the charity’s mission in helping all children to unlock their imagination and realise their full potential.

The Award-winning TV Chef and Broadcaster is a passionate advocate of imagination and creativity, which has influenced her rich and varied career through food and music.

She also shares a passion for the iOi’s mission to provide children from the most marginalised and deprived areas of society with more opportunities for creativity and imagination.

To kick off with, Andi Oliver is supporting iOi’s Schools Programme which aims to build creativity and aspiration through STEM subjects using cross-curricular links, reaching over 36,000 primary aged children this year alone from the most disadvantaged regions of England. This is one of several learning experiences from the iOi, with an ambitious focus of reaching 1⁄2 million children by 2025. The iOi is calling on all teachers of state primaries inclusive of SEND schools to join their programme FREE of charge.

In addition to the Schools Programme, the iOi offers an Imagination Box, full of creative activities, designed for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and supported by The LEGO Group. We also work in community partnerships across our Digital Heroes Programme, with children from marginalised backgrounds developing their digital skills for the future.

Commenting on her new role as ambassador and the iOi’s Schools Programme, Andi Oliver said:

“I love the work of the iOi and the organisation’s values really resonated with me. Imagination has been crucial for me in my life and career, and I am passionate about giving children the opportunity to continue using their imagination for their future. The iOi Schools Programme is essential in developing life skills such as the ability to think creatively, problem solve and build resilience and I’m very happy to be supporting such a progressive organisation working hard to support the education outcomes of many children.”

The FREE iOi Schools Programme is available to book for primary schools in the most disadvantaged areas. Find out more here www.ioi.london/schools


About the Institute of Imagination:

The iOi is a well-established and pioneering children’s education charity focusing on marginalised and disadvantaged children aged 5-11. The iOi designs and delivers creative learning experiences across the arts, sciences and digital technologies that empower children today to believe they can build a just, fair and sustainable world tomorrow. We believe imagination is the super-power of the 21st Century and is one of life’s essential skills.

Empowering children with future-facing skills and high aspirations will be key to their success in adulthood and beyond – yet children are setting their aspirations low even as young as 7 years old, according to the OECD, meaning they are already facing limits on their future aspirations in work.

This low level of aspiration and opportunity for creativity is highest amongst marginalised and disadvantaged children where the attainment gap is already at its widest for 10 years.

The iOi is seeking to change this and boost Imagination through its programmes, products and platforms, providing practical, scalable and transformative solutions for children from the most marginalized and disadvantaged communities.

Imagination and creativity are essential life skills children need to navigate an uncertain future. Such skills allow children to problem solve, build resilience and think creatively. It can also have a profound impact on our emotions, mental health and aspiration building. Automation by Artificial Intelligence and machines has the potential to transform our economy radically, meaning creative and innovative thinking skills will become highly valued (Vincent Lancrin et al., 2019).

The iOi recognises this importance and – echoing the World Economic Forum – stresses that creative and critical thinking are essential for children’s futures. Which is why the Institute of Imagination (iOi) is delivering a FREE Schools Programme to state funded primary schools focussing on areas of high deprivation. As a leading children’s education charity, the iOi’s vision is for every child to have the skills and opportunity to imagine and achieve their fullest potential.

About the iOi’s Schools Programmes

The iOi Schools Programme provides a free creative learning approach to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) subjects allowing children to build the ‘soft’ skills such as creative thinking, problem solving, curiosity, and aspiration building.

The iOi also works with the most vulnerable children through its Digital Heroes community programme, working alongside hubs in the most marginalised communities to provide free digital inclusion for children.
Additionally, the iOi created an Imagination Box, a creative activity box which was designed for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in mind.


About Andi Oliver

Award winning TV Chef and Broadcaster Andi Oliver enjoys a rich & varied career, with food and music being at the forefront throughout. Andi was a judge on Great British Menu for four series, but left her seat at the judging table to present the show’s festive special in December 2020. Now, much to the delight of viewers, in her third year as host, Andi is on hand to encourage and support the chefs through the heat of the kitchen.

On air Andi is a regular panel member on BBC Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet alongside Jay Rayner as well as a contributor to Radio 4’s Award winning The Food Programme. In 2018 she followed in the footsteps of Yotam Ottolenghi & Giorgio Locatelli and was appointed Head judge alongside Sheila Dillon for the prestigious BBC Food & Farming awards.

Outside the realm of food Andi hosted Jazz 365 for BBC4 in 2019, with the production winning Best Music Programme at the Broadcast awards. Along with her daughter Miquita Oliver she took part in The Road To Saigon for BBC2 and the pair Hosted The Cheltenham Literature Festival for Sky Arts. Andi will be hosting the third live book series for Sky Arts, alongside best-selling novelist and host of award winning podcast ‘How To Fail ‘ Elizabeth Day.

During this period Andi hosted a hugely popular afternoon show on GLR for three years and presented The Selector for 8 years, a show for The British Council, broadcast in over 15 different countries. In 2005, with Andi at the helm, it won a Silver Sony Award for best weekly music show. In 2006 she presented The Truth About Food for the BBC and in 2007 she and Neneh Cherry hosted BBC2 cooking series, Neneh and Andi Dish It Up.

Andi was (and is) in the kitchen throughout all of this, perfecting her skill. For 4 years she ran a successful ephemeral restaurant – The Moveable Feast. After being creative director of The Birdcage Pub on Colombia road, she launched her own kitchen at The Jackdaw and Star, a renovated pub in the heart of Homerton. She opened her award winning restaurant – Andi’s – in 2016 & in 2020, she created her newest food project in which she seeks to explore and shine a light on real Caribbean Home Cooking and create a powerful conversation about exploring identity and migration through cultural exchange projects.

For further information please contact: Catherine Lambert, Head of Marketing and Comms catherine.lambert@ioi.london / Hannah.Tait@plmr.co.uk

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