Techniquest submits plans for Science Capital project

By Raspberry Jim,

Techniquest has submitted a planning application for its £5.7m Science Capital project, which will see the radical transformation and expansion of its science discovery centre in Cardiff Bay.

Planning has been submitted to extend the educational charity’s current building on Stuart Street to create an additional 900m2 of exhibition floor space.

The scheme, designed by local architecture practice HLM, will significantly increase Techniquest’s footprint providing an additional 60% exhibition space to house brand new innovative content related to, and developed with, Welsh STEM innovators, academics and communities.

The new immersive and innovative exhibition areas and experiences will help Techniquest to diversify its audiences and increase visitor numbers by at least 40%.

Lesley Kirkpatrick, CEO of Techniquest said: “Since securing funding, it has been full steam ahead in our Science Capital project. We’ve been working closely with our consultants to marry up our objectives, with the space we have available, and our ultimate goal of ensuring the charity has a sustainable and long-term future in Wales.

“We’re delighted with the final plans, which are contemporary, inclusive, flexible and eye-catching. Gaining planning consent is naturally a crucial factor in the future of this project so we’re hopeful for a positive result.”

As well as creating a new vibrant public entrance, the plans include a designated community space overlooking the Bay, a new café and shop, in addition to a roof terrace and courtyard designed to host interactive artworks and features to complement exhibitions.

Patrick Arends, leisure and culture sector lead at HLM said: “Techniquest has been providing inspiring scientific education for over 30 years and the new extension will reflect this with a contemporary design that will showcase this unique and much-loved facility in Cardiff.  The Cardiff HLM studio has been working closely with the project team, drawing on its extensive experience in designing top class educational and leisure spaces, to create a vibrant space that is flexible, active and relevant.”

The scheme is being project managed by Lee Wakemans who are working alongside HLM (architects), Hydrock (project engineers) and Wardell Armstrong (planning consultant).

Paul Wong, Director at Lee Wakemans said: “Techniquest is on a marvellous journey of renewal looking to reach a much wider audience. We feel privileged to play our part in helping to translate what the client is seeking to achieve, into an exciting design which will get built and ready for summer 2020. It’s great to have reached this milestone of submitting the planning application and we’re grateful to all team members who have helped us reach this point.”

Subject to planning permission being granted, it is anticipated that work on the extension will commence in Spring 2019, with the new space being open to the public by Summer 2020.

Sony UK TEC cyclists’ ‘epic’ 300-mile cycle raises over £5k for local hospital

By Raspberry Jim,


Dedicated cyclists from Sony UK Technology Centre (UK TEC) have taken on an “exhilarating” 300-mile coast-to-coast challenge across Wales to raise thousands for a Bridgend hospital.

Fifteen members of the Pencoed factory’s Team Xtreme jumped on their bikes for the epic three-day adventure last weekend in a bid to support the vital work of the Princess of Wales Hospital’s children’s ward.

This is the second time that the team, which was formed 15 years ago, has undertaken a challenge of this magnitude in aid of the hospital.

This year’s challengers began pedalling from the specialist manufacturing facility on August 25th completing their 312-mile round trip in just three days.

During the cycle they travelled across Wales taking in Carmarthen, Swansea, Newcastle Emlyn, Margam, Llanboidy, St Davids, Llandrindod Wells, Brecon, and Penderyn.

Over the three days they cycled 12 hours every day fighting adverse weather and fatigue, raising £5,500 for the children’s ward.

This total will be added to more than £60,000 which Sony UK TEC has already raised for the hospital since it was selected as their chosen charity six years ago.

Team member Jonathan Williams said they were incredibly proud to have completed this “once in a lifetime” challenge and raised so much money for a fantastic cause.

Jonathan said: “When we were planning the second annual challenge this year we wanted to choose something even more extreme than 2017 – and this was certainly that!

“We wanted our challenge to reflect just how much the children’s ward means to our staff and to thousands of people across south Wales, so a coastal pedal felt like an exciting choice.

“Over the course of the three days our team was absolutely amazing, and everyone really pulled together to show their support and ensure we could all complete each stage.

“Despite the distance being initially daunting this really was an exhilarating once in a lifetime experience that I’m sure no-one would change.

“We are absolutely delighted to have raised so much for such a vitally important cause and we can’t wait to see how the funds are put to good use.

“We’d like to thank everyone for their fantastic support and we look forward to the 2019 event!”

The event was sponsored by Sony UK TEC’s suppliers, clients and partners, including The Raspberry Pi Foundation, Arrow, KCE, Philtone, Abbey Glass, Harris Printers, Merlin,  If Development, Daymark and Nathaniel Cars Bridgend.

Gerald Kelly, director at Sony UK TEC, said: “At Sony, the spirit of doing everything we do “For the Next Generation” goes all the way back to the vision of Sony co-founder Masaru Ibuka, and it still guides Sony’s community engagement everywhere we do business. In Wales, our team supports a variety of charitable causes each year including educational projects, healthcare charities and sports clubs among others.

“As part of our commitment, we select one organisation as our annual adopted charity that our main funding efforts are geared towards. For the last six years, this has been The Children’s Ward at Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend.

“Our support has resulted in the completion of various projects and the purchase of much needed equipment for the hospital. This year we’d like to give you, the people whom we work with and who are an integral part of our operation, the chance to be a part of this amazing experience and together, help us make a real difference to people’s lives.”

So far, thanks to the generosity of the 600 strong team at Sony UK TEC, over £60,000 has been raised for the Princess of Wales Hospital with the facility also taking part in three charity football games, cake sales and individual fundraising campaigns.

The team has also held numerous charity golf days across Welsh courses with a special 25th anniversary event set to be held at the Celtic Manor in October.

Techniquest secures £3m funding for The Science Capital

By Raspberry Jim,

Techniquest has secured £3m of funding to make science more accessible to the people of Wales.

Awarded through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Wellcome Trust’s Inspiring Science Fund, the funding means that Wales’ much-loved educational charity can move forward with its plans to radically transform its science discovery centre in Cardiff Bay.

Earlier this year, Techniquest announced plans for The Science Capital — a project which encompasses an extension of its building on Stuart Street and a repositioning exercise to extend and diversify its audiences.

Along with the new funding, the charity has match funding from Moondance Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Welsh Government’s ‘Invest to Save’ fund, and Proton Partners International, meaning it now has the capital to move full steam ahead with this exciting project.

Plans will shortly be submitted for the proposed extension, which will significantly increase Techniquest’s footprint.

The expansion will provide an additional exhibition space to house brand new content, which will be developed with businesses and academics at the forefront of the STEM agenda in Wales and supported by a programme of community co-production.

The new immersive and innovative exhibition areas and experiences will help Techniquest to diversify its audiences and increase visitor numbers by at least 40%.

Lesley Kirkpatrick, CEO of Techniquest said: “We are over the moon to be awarded this funding and are grateful to BEIS and Wellcome for believing in our ambitions. It is the culmination of over a year and a half of hard work from our talented team, who are extremely passionate about this next phase in our evolution.

“It means that our plans to expand our science discovery centre and extend our offering to make science accessible to all, can progress in earnest giving our charity a new lease of life, while ensuring a sustainable and long-term future in Wales.

“We’re extremely excited about turning our exciting plans into a reality.”

Science Minister Sam Gyimah said: “We want to bring the wonders of science to as wide an audience as possible and that’s why it is at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy. Today’s investment will help inspire people from across the country to learn about the truly amazing benefits that science and technology has on all our lives.”

Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said: “Today’s funding announcement is a welcome boost to many science centres across the UK, and I can’t think of a more worthy recipient than Techniquest in Cardiff Bay.

“The centre is home to many fond memories of children and adults in South Wales and further afield, who were perhaps taking an interest in science and technology for the first time. This funding will allow Techniquest to leap forward in developing cutting edge STEM technology, attracting some of Wales’ sharpest science minds to take a lead role in developing our future society.”

Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Mark Drakeford said: “Techniquest plays an important role in promoting science amongst young people in Wales and I am pleased that the Welsh Government has been able to support the Science Capital project through our Invest To Save Fund.”

Taking its project name from a concept conceived by academics at Kings College London, which is a measure of people’s engagement or relationship with science, through The Science Capital Techniquest is committed to creating society that is equipped to understand, question, and enjoy science.

Lesley continued: “At Techniquest, we want to grow people’s science capital by highlighting the role science plays in our everyday lives and demonstrating how STEM and innovative technologies are shaping the future of our society.

“By growing science capital in individuals and the communities of Wales, we can help more people to see science as an important part of their lives and culture, which will help broaden opportunities and access for STEM-related jobs in the future and in turn boost the Welsh economy.”

Sony UK TEC charity challenges raise £6k for children’s ward

By Raspberry Jim,

Sony UK TEC charity challenges raise £6k for children’s ward

Staff from a leading Pencoed factory have taken on a gruelling 300-mile cycle to raise thousands of pounds for children battling illness.

Thirteen members of staff from Sony UK Technology Centre have jumped on their bikes to undertake a Wales-wide cycle challenge.

Starting from Caernarfon, the cyclists, along with two support staff, travelled 100 miles a day for three days stopping off at castles including Conway; Powis; Caldicott; Caerleon Amphitheatre; Newport; and Cardiff along the way.

The last 30 miles of the journey from the capital to Ogmore saw the team joined by 30 additional staff, including former rugby player and Sony UK TEC Learning and Development Ambassador Richard Parks, as they headed into the final leg.

Thanks to their efforts over £4,000 was raised for The Children’s Ward at Princess of Wales Hospital. The funds add to almost £40,000 raised by Sony UK TEC for the vital facility over the past five years.

Director of professional services Gerald Kelly said: “Our staff have always gone above and beyond to support the fantastic work of the Children’s Ward over the years.

“This latest challenge clearly demonstrates their passion and dedication to supporting the cause, and as ever, they pushed themselves to the limits to raise an impressive sum of money. Over three days they cycled an amazing 300 miles and everyone at Sony UK TEC congratulates them on completing this incredible challenge.”

Alongside the cycle challenge, the Sony UK TEC team also raised funds for the Children’s Ward this month through an intercompany charity football Cardiff Vs Swansea football match.

The second annual game, which took place at Cardiff City Stadium, saw both teams go head to head in a 90 minute clash which finished in a nine all draw.

Both players and spectators helped raise £1,644 through the event, which was followed by a prizegiving and raffle.

The Pencoed manufacturing facility, which produces thousands of HD broadcast and professional camera systems including the latest 4k models each year, has worked successfully with Cardiff City FC over the past seven years.

It recently provided three new state-of-the-art games consoles for the stadium’s family zone, which were unveiled ahead of the Bluebirds game against Ipswich.

Mr Kelly added: “We’d like to congratulate all the Sony UK TEC players who took part in this highly entertaining game to raise even more funds for the Children’s ward.

“We truly hope that the almost £6,000 raised through both these events helps to support the admirable work carried out at the children’s ward.”

Pencoed’s Miss Wales hopeful raises £3763 for disadvantaged children

By Raspberry Jim,

Pencoed’s Miss Wales hopeful raises £3763 for disadvantaged children

A Pencoed woman who is competing to become the next Miss Wales has raised over £3,500 for disadvantaged children.

Hannah Williams is among 32 women hoping to secure the crown at this year’s prestigious competition.

During her campaign the 23 year old has so far hosted charity nights, fundraised in her workplace at Sony UK Technology Centre, participated in the 5k Gung Ho, and held an auction and raffle to raise the £3763. Family, friends and staff at the Pencoed manufacturing facility which produces thousands of HD broadcast systems and 4k cameras have supported this.

All funds this year are being donated to the pageant’s chosen charity Beauty With A Purpose, which supports children’s charities within Wales and around the world.

Hannah, who is an Assistant Sourcing Manager at the specialist facility in Pencoed, has also been raising awareness of the importance of more women exploring manufacturing professions and Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths careers throughout her campaign.

And with the new Miss Wales set to be crowned at a three-day ceremony in Cardiff this week, Miss Williams reflects on her “fulfilling” journey ahead of the event.

She said: “Being part of this year’s Miss Wales competition has been the most rewarding experience for me.

“Having the opportunity to meet so many inspirational and supportive people as part of my campaign has been amazing.

“However, being able to raise money to support disadvantaged children in Wales and around the world is what it is really all about.

“I am incredibly humbled by the generosity people have shown through my various fundraising events, which has enabled me to raise this sum. I’d like to take the opportunity to thank everyone once again. It has really meant the world to me.

“Money raised will go directly towards life-changing charities making a difference to the lives of disadvantaged children.”

To support Hannah text – WELSH HANNAH to 64343

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