Three years, two iOi facilitators and over 100 Lambeth families. After three amazing years, our Lambeth Sparks programme has come to an end! Working with over 100 families, across three neighbours we’ve made countless imaginative spaces for children and young people in Lambeth. Let’s hear from Jess and Helen Farley, two of our amazing iOi facilitators who have been running the programme for the past few years.

Can you describe what things you’ve done in Lambeth Sparks?

Jess and Helen: Well, we’ve done a lot!

Lambeth Sparks is all about tinkering, problem solving, being creative and inventing new solutions!

Over three years we’ve played with Microbits, servos, Co-Spaces, animation, coding games and creating imaginary worlds. Most of what we do is hands on making – creating characters/backdrops for stop motion animation.

Throughout three years we have also had some amazing partners as our ‘Inspiring Industry Professionals’, who have offered their time to be in sessions, Q&As and have helped the children to see new avenues and the endless possibilities that their futures hold.

Who have your worked with during Lambeth Sparks?

Jess: I’ve had the pleasure of working with lots of really amazing volunteers and iOi staff, in particular Paul Clifford and Helen Farely. In one of our third-year work, we also had the chance to work with Aardman Animation Studios.

Helen: We have also worked with lots of fantastic children and families in Vauxhall, Streatham and Loughborough. Having the support of families over the three years has been incredible. At the iOi we are always keen to get the whole family involved, so it was amazing to be able to build connections with all generations. 

What has been some of your favourite moments?

Jess: There have been a lot of great moments, it’s hard to choose! But one of my favourite moments was during a chat with the children from Streatham about what they’d like to be when they’re older. All of them had great plans for themselves! There was a real mixture – some wanted to create games when they’re older others want to work in Japan, or simply continue to be creative. That was a great moment.

Helen: For me, seeing everyone online or in person wanting to showcase what they have made. This can be at any point in the session. It’s fantastic to see the excitement in their faces as they share with Jess and I and each other.

Also, it always brought a smile to my face when children run up to you before a session starts to say that they have been working on their creation throughout the week, or they have taught a family member what they have learnt. That’s how you know you have really captured the interest and imagination!

children robots materials

How have you seen your work impact the children you’ve worked with for three years?  

Jess: Personally, it’s always amazing to see the children grow in confidence. Whether that’s in their ability to work together, socialise or just believe more in their ideas. I think more than anything I’ve seen children over the past three years become more and more confident, which is amazing.

Helen: I would have to agree! These three years have brought a whole host of challenges, some we never could have thought of. Yet these children still continued to grow and have so much more confidence in their abilities and creativity. They began to share more about their projects, from prototypes to the fifth version! Children supported one another, growing not only as individuals, but as a group. They learnt to be patience and overcome any issues they faced.

What do you see the future of Lambeth Sparks being?

Jess: I’d love to see the children from this program continue to be creative and make things, in whatever form that takes. Following this programme, I hope that they remember to believe in their great ideas, and they can apply their creative mindset to whatever problems they come across.

Helen: I hope they continue to push their creativity, in any way that they can think of. We’ve also shared a whole host of career options out there for them, involving technology and creativity, with real life role models. With everything advancing rapidly, I know that they will be able to adapt, tinker and continue to be imaginative in their lives.

Find out more about the work we do in Lambeth here.

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