Astronomy captures the imagination of Halton's disengaged young people (From Runcorn and Widnes World)
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New astronomy learning centre opens in Runcorn
STARS and planets could soon inspire young people to find jobs, discover new careers or go to college.
The Knowledge Observatory has moved to Wigg Island visitor centre from the Heath Business and Technical Park and is running courses for disengaged young people aged 16 to 19.
This social enterprise raises funds through events and astronomy courses and ploughs profits into an innovative learning programme.
It aims to inspire teenagers who are not in education, employment or training to improve their skills and qualifications.
The project is run by Runcorn couple Sue Davies, aged 53, and her husband, Andrew, aged 52, a teacher and astronomer.
Sue, who has experience with disadvantaged children has developed the teaching programme which starts in September. She said: “I do all the finance, administration and contracts with Halton Council and Riverside College.
“We will get young people involved in photography, environmental sciences and astronomy. They will learn how to do presentations, budgeting and arrange activities.
“It will give them confidence, self esteem and help develop their employability skills.
“We will then teach English, maths and ICT. The young people will work towards different qualifications.”
Andrew said: “I have a lifelong passion for astronomy which I believe offers an incredible opportunity to engage young people and provide fresh learning opportunities for their development.”
The observatory, equipped with telescopes, is open to the public every day except Monday and Tuesday, from 11am to 4pm.
An astronomy club runs on the second Friday of every month from 6.30pm-7.30pm for juniors and 7.30pm onwards for adults.
Ten-week courses are also available.
For further details, call 0845 2268161, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit theknowledgeobservatory.co.uk.
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