Dundee Science Centre’s Mission to CONNECT Communities
Published on 30 April 2019
A pioneering network of various ‘assisted needs’ groups is shaping the future of Dundee Science Centre, as plans for a £2.1M revamp gather speed.
The panel of charities contributing to the design of the redevelopment represents people with learning, physical, complex, profound and multiple disabilities, autism, hearing and visual impairments, mental health and sensory challenges.
The group has been formed to influence Dundee Science Centre’s CONNECT project which will transform the visitor attraction into an even more accessible community hub and comprises representatives from Advocating Together, Capability Scotland, Dundee and Angus ADHD Support Group, Dundee Voluntary Action – Mental Health, PAMIS, Scottish Autism, Tayside Deaf Hub and Blind Society.
Through collaboration with the charities, the panel is actively shaping the future of the centre’s infrastructure, programmes and spaces to ensure that they reflect the needs of all users, regardless of the challenges they face. The group will also influence the training of Dundee Science Centre staff, ensuring they are equipped to deal with all visitors, adults and children alike, providing all users with a positive experience.
The panel is facilitated by Advocating Together (Dundee) SCIO, which benefits people with learning disabilities, autistic spectrum disorders and complex communication needs. Through their advancement in education, TUTTI (an Italian word, meaning all voices or instruments together) aims to ensure that all voices are heard by supporting the private, public and voluntary sectors to improve communication and accessibility.
Issues being explored range from inclusive communication, wheelchair accessibility, parking and reception areas to the role which seating, lighting, exhibits and sound can play in the overall visitor experience.
Carina Mitchell, Director, Advocating Together (Dundee) SCIO explained, “Tutti LED by Advocating Together is delighted to be working collaboratively to support Dundee Science Centre with additional tools and skills. Together, we can help make the centre more accessible to people who struggle with their communication or environment, providing them with more independence, choice and better customer service.”
The refurb, due to be unveiled in Spring 2021, is funded with £1.45M support from the Inspiring Science Fund, a collaborative initiative between the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, UK Research and Innovation and Wellcome.
Dundee Science Centre is currently fundraising for an additional £260K to reach its ambitious targets
Rebecca Duncan, Head of Development, Dundee Science Centre added, “CONNECT aims to strengthen Dundee Science Centre’s position within the tourism, education and cultural fabric of the city but we can’t do it alone. By building on the relationships we have been cultivating for almost 20 years, we are tapping into the expertise which these groups bring, ensuring that our exhibits, environments and programmes reflect their needs, and make the centre a relevant and welcoming place to visit and enjoy. We are already proud to be leaders in the field of community engagement but now it’s about exploring where we can take that, and really pushing the barriers of science engagement.”
The refurbishment will see the ground floor developed into a custom-built hub with improved scope for events, talks and workshops celebrating community work, as well as a new welcome area, under 7’s exhibition area, sensory zone and new exhibition space.
For more information, telephone (01382) 228800 or visit www.dundeesciencecentre.org.uk.
For more information about the work of Tutti LED by Advocating Together, telephone (01382) 666601 or visit www.advocating-together.org.uk/tutti.