Local STEM charity, the Darwin Centre has been awarded ‘Educational Charity of the Year 2023/24’ in the Wales Prestige Awards for its work with the young people of Pembrokeshire.  

Amy Belcher and Samantha Williams from the Darwin Centre at the Prestige Awards ceremony
Amy Belcher and Samantha Williams from the Darwin Centre at the Prestige Awards ceremony (Pic supplied)

The Darwin Centre aims to engage and inspire young people in Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) subjects through hands-on field trips and workshops with an emphasis on outdoor learning and work-related experiences.

Forces workshop with Golden Grove School, Pembroke
Forces workshop with Golden Grove School, Pembroke (Pic supplied)

Founded by Professor Tony Campbell and Dr Stephanie Matthews in 1993, the educational charity raises pupils’ aspirations by opening up access to experts within STEM industries and highlighting potential careers available within the sector.

Since 2005, their educational programme - the Darwin Experience has been funded by Dragon LNG who have provided an unprecedented amount of support to the charity. The successful partnership allows the Darwin team to work for free with every educational facility in the region. 

Templeton pupils at Freshwater West
Templeton pupils at Freshwater West (Pic supplied)

Judges were particularly impressed by the efforts made at The Darwin Centre to complement the new curriculum for Wales. The charity addresses schools’ individual needs through bespoke sessions. These are tailored to suit current or upcoming topics and include contemporary issues such as renewable energy, climate change, ocean plastics and much more.  

The Darwin Centre has a passion for science communication, sharing subject knowledge with pupils and communities, and breaking down barriers. Over the past 18 years, the project has worked alongside almost 70,000 young people, providing access to STEM for all, regardless of economic status.. 

Manager Samantha Williams said:

“Winning this award means so much to our small team, who strive to give Pembrokeshire learners the best possible experience of STEM whether that is through field trips such as rock pooling or workshops with specialists from industry such as physicist, Dr Mark Smith who explores our solar system and black holes.   

“We would not have been in a position to win this award without our core sponsors, Dragon LNG,” she added. “They have been supporting us for 18 years and are integral to the success and stability of the charity.”

Any Pembrokeshire schools wishing to book a field trip or workshop linked to their science and technology topics in the New Year can get in touch with Sam and Amy on [email protected]