Race to Space

Lightyear Foundation profile


Total raised £13,473

raised so far

+ est. £678.00 Gift Aid



To break down barriers to getting more disabled children into Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

We're still collecting donations

On the 18th October 2022 we'd raised £12,144 with 122 supporters in 56 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

 New stretch target

Meeting our stretch target of £10,000 would enable us to fund our Volunteer Programme for a year. This includes recruitment, training, safeguarding checks and on-going support. Volunteers are essential to our work, both in bringing unique skill sets but also in amplifying the impact of our tiny team.

Lightyear Foundation breaks down barriers to disabled children accessing STEM through 'sensory science' creative workshops, engaging virtual labs, highlighting disabled scientist role models and workplace inspiration trips.

Our programmes are unique in working with a wide range of disabled children to help them reach their full potential, filling a gap in service delivery and education that is offered by no other organisation.

For some, our work is sensory exploration packed with fun which builds social skills and teaches essential life skills such as choice making or dealing with unexpected outcomes. For others, it’s giving confidence, skills and direction to help them pursue a career in science. 

The need for our work

Recent years have seen some headway in tackling science’s inclusivity and diversity issues but it’s still work in progress. One significant subsection of society – that makes up 20% of working-age adults – remains largely overlooked, and that’s disabled people.

The good news is that there’s a growing realisation that the same kind of workforce tends to come up with narrow-focused solutions. To overcome the big global challenges, our scientists and engineers of the future need to come from all walks of life.

78% of the autistic community and 95% of people with a learning disability are unemployed, yet many ‘disabilities’ are in fact advantageous. For example, an autistic coder may excel at attention to detail and find comfort in repetition, or a visually impaired scientist could detect tactile details that someone else might miss. 

The ‘Jobs of the Future’ study revealed that science, research, engineering and technology jobs will grow at double the rate of other occupations, creating 142,000 extra jobs by 2023. With a severe lack of employment opportunities for disabled people and still currently under-represented in the STEM workforce, we need to mobilise this untapped pool of talent.

Lightyear Foundation projects 

Our unique 6-part programme mobilises this pool of talent and the project streams work together to excite, inspire and enable disabled children (such as those who have autism, visual impairment, cancer or cerebral palsy) to access STEM:

1.     Active Learning Workshops – fusing science with dance

2.    Sensory Science – participatory hands-on 'wow' experiences 

3.     Virtual Lab – an online exploratory

4.     Role Models – showcasing disabled scientists across the sector

5.     Work Inspiration Trips – accessible group visits 

6.     SEN in STEM – sector-wide network breaking down barriers 

To help amplify its impact, Lightyear created a SEN in STEM network (Special Educational Needs in STEM), a widespread community of people committed to making STEM accessible. Building on its expertise it creates opportunities to share, learn and showcase across the 220 member organisations who collectively represent the UK’s science community. 

£5,000 fundraising target

Lightyear Foundation is a small charity with a HUGE impact! We are a tiny team of  part-time professionals, the equivalent of just 1 person full-time.

Raising £5,000 will help cover the essential core costs of our charity (often harder to fundraise for but vital to run our charity), ensure good governance and develop our project streams, enabling us to reach more disabled children than ever before.

Funds raised will recruit, train and support new STEM Leads to deliver our programmes, set up additional regular classes, launch workshops in places in the UK we haven't worked in before and widely showcase our techniques, up-skilling many others in inclusive practice.

Last year we reached 5,000 children and, with your help, we hope to dramatically increase this by 2023.

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Select a reward

This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£150 or more

Behind the scenes at the Natural History Museum!

An exclusive opportunity for a behind-the-scenes tour of the labs at the Natural History Museum in London, including one of the collections areas. Find answers to your big nature questions. Delve into stories about the Museum's collections, scientists and research. Uncover the history of life on Earth, from the smallest insects to the largest mammals. For a maximum of six people with a minimum age limit of 10 years, to redeem on a weekday only.

£10 or more

10% discount on Whizz Pop Bang kids magazine

10% discount on a subscription to Whizz Pop Bang, the awesome science magazine for kids! Packed with lab-loads of hands-on experiments, puzzles and awesome science news in each month’s magazine, sparking imaginations and inspiring the scientists of the future.

£30 or more

Signed, personalised copy of 'Explaining Humans'

Written by one of Lightyear Foundation's very own trustees, Dr Camilla Pang, 'Explaining Humans' is an award-winning original and incisive exploration of human nature and the strangeness of social norms, written from the outside looking in. Camilla's unique perspective of the world tells us so much about ourselves, about who we are and why we do what we do, and is a fascinating guide on how to lead a more connected, happier life.

£30 or more

Signed, personalised copy of 'Perfectly Weird'

Written by one of Lightyear Foundation's very own trustees, Dr Camilla Pang, 'Perfectly Weird, Perfectly You' is your very own scientific survival guide to growing up! Camilla is a scientist and an award-winning author, and she is here to share her scientific survival guide with you, so you can grow up with the courage to be yourself, no matter how different you feel or how tricky you might find it to connect.

£30 or more

Free family ticket: Life Science Centre, Newcastle

There's so much to see and do at the Life Science Centre in Newcastle, with activities and exhibits for all ages. Everything is included in your free family ticket (maximum of two adults), so you can start planning your fun-filled day out as soon as you claim this reward! Valid until 30/03/2023.

£30 or more

Free family ticket: Xplore! Science Centre, Wales

Full to the brim with science, exploration, and fun, Xplore! have been bringing brain-teasing, mind-bending, eye-opening science to Wrexham for almost 20 years! One free family ticket for up to four people, valid until 31/01/2023.

£200 or more

Personalised video shout-out from Lightyear

A personalised video shout-out on our social channels from the Lightyear team to thank you for your support!

£1,000 or more

Your own diversity and inclusion training session

A personal or workplace training session on diversity, inclusion and accessibility from an expert consultant at our charity. You will build awareness and understanding of the value of an inclusive workforce and meeting the needs of diverse service users and clients as well as enhance your knowledge of good diversity and inclusion practice in the workplace.

£25 or more

£20 COOK voucher

When you could use a helping hand in the kitchen, COOK make it easy to nourish yourself and the people you care about.

£25 or more

3-month subscription to Whizz Pop Bang magazine

A 3-month subscription to popular kids science magazine, Whizz Pop Bang! Packed with lab-loads of hands-on experiments, puzzles and awesome science news in each month’s magazine, sparking imaginations and inspiring the scientists of the future.

£30 or more

Free family ticket: National Space Centre

With six interactive galleries, the UK’s largest planetarium, and the iconic 42m high Rocket Tower, the award-winning National Space Centre in Leicester is an out of this world experience. A free family ticket for two adults and two children. Valid until 03/02/2023.

£30 or more

Free family ticket: Winchester Science Centre

Are you ready for an action-packed family adventure? Set off on an exhilarating journey through the world of STEM at Winchester Science Centre. Two floors of fun, hands-on interactives, huge explosive demos and experiments, indoor and outdoor nature exploration and an unforgettable Planetarium experience. One free family ticket for four people including a Live Science Show and the Planetarium. Accessibility is at the heart of all they do.

£50 or more

Signed Formula 1 driver cap

Formula 1 driver cap signed by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese racing driver in F1 history. Black cap with Alfa Romeo branding, driver number (24) and signature on the peak.

£250 or more

Training for Ogden Trust

"Making STEM Accessible" CPD-accredited course for Ogden Trust.

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