The Jodrell Bank Observatory has announced that a highly-anticipated £21.5 million interactive visitor attraction is opening this summer.
The First Light Pavilion – part of the wider First Light Project, which is all about telling the stories of its pioneering scientists and opening up the inspirational history of the important Cheshire site – will showcase archives and artefacts, together with animations and projections, when it officially opens to the public on 4 June 2022.
Visitors to the new attraction will be able to experience a meteor shower, crawl into a black hole, or even see like a snake.
The building itself was an original idea developed by Jodrell Bank professors Teresa Anderson and Tim O’Brien, was designed by the award-winning architect HASSELL Studio, and takes the form of a grass-topped 76m-diameter dome – which is said to “cleverly mirror the shape and scale of the landmark Lovell Telescope”.
Inside the pavilion, the First Light Exhibition will bring to life the Jodrell Bank story, which dates back to 1945, and is known as the birthplace of radio astronomy thanks to its exploration of the universe using radio waves instead of visible light.
Exhibition audiences will be able to see a range of fascinating archive materials brought together for the first time, including audio, film, diaries, letters, plans, notebooks, and photographs, with the highlight being the chance to see a number of personal items belonging to Jodrell Bank’s founder Sir Bernard Lovell.
There’ll also be the opportunity to experience vivid planetarium-style shows in a custom-built auditorium, complete with a curved projection screen and nine digital projectors.
A new temporary exhibition gallery will show the building’s construction processes, such as how the telescope panels were removed and restored to form the backdrop of the main exhibition, and a guided tour that takes visitors to previously-inaccessible parts of the Jodrell Bank site will also be launched later in the year.
A 130-cover café with a terrace overlooking the Jodrell Bank Arboretum and a menu using seasonal and sustainable produce is another part of the attraction.
Speaking ahead of the opening of the attraction, Professor Anderson – Director at the Jodrell Bank Centre for Engagement – said: “After years of planning, we are thrilled to finally be able to announce the opening of First Light – a moment [that] will mark a whole new chapter for Jodrell Bank.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming our first visitors through the doors and in to this beautiful new space.”
The project has been made possible with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund awarded £12.5 million to the project “so that the site’s powerful human stories of curiosity, exploration, and discovery could be shared with the public”, according to chief executive Eilish McGuinness.
She added: “Jodrell Bank is truly a unique heritage site, of national and international importance, with an inspirational story of Britain’s role as a leader in the science of the exploration of the universe.”
You can find more information about the First Light Pavilion here.
Featured Image – Jodrell Bank
Rio Ferdinand is helping change young lives with community programmes in Oldham and Salford
Ex-Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand and his foundation’s wonderful work is helping better the lives of young people in Oldham, Salford and across Manchester as a whole.
Over the past year, the Rio Ferdinand Foundation and The Guinness Partnership have been putting together a vital social initiative aimed at providing opportunities and resources to young people across Greater Manchester, helping them develop their skills and aspirations for future working life.
Now, after a hugely successful 12-month campaign, their skills and progression community programme, participants are well and truly starting to feel the impact, with 90% of those taking part now stating that they are enjoying a clear idea and focus on what they want to do for a career.
It may have be thriving in Salford and Oldham at the moment, but given the benefit the scheme has already had — not to mention the ambition the Rio Ferdinand Foundation has shown around various areas of the UK since being set up in 2012 — we can only see this spreading further across the region.
The skills-based initiative engages young people aged under 25 years old and living in Guinness homes in a six-month skills-based programme which has been up and running in the two Manc boroughs, as well as the London boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth, since March 2022.
Young people from both Oldham and Salford take part in a weekly schedule of activities designed to tackle youth unemployment, including digital media training (photography, product design, filmmaking, podcasting), building and construction, CV workshops, mock interviews and more.
Not only do these shadowing opportunities garner confidence and raise aspirations among other young people in the local community, but they also help directly develop their employability skills via mentoring.
For instance, Matthew, 19 from Royton in Oldham, completed the programme and then was supported to apply to the Guinness Aspire Awards to request funding to purchase camera and lighting equipment to help him start a small local photography business. Quality stuff.
Matt says that the scheme “has been an amazing opportunity and has given [him] a chance to get back on the right path… I know what I want to do now and can’t wait to start… I would recommend that other people in my position get involved with it in the future.”
As well as markedly increasing participants health and well-being, all 100% of those involved across Salford and Oldham reported feeling more confident, with many now enjoying opportunities with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation’s partners such as Warner Music, Kiss FM, The Jockey Club and the Gym Group.
Speaking on the programme’s success, Rio himself said in a statement: “The Foundation is committed to working with young people at the heart of their communities to offer support, training, and opportunities to those that need it… engaging with the Guinness Partnership has provided a great boost to our reach and our work”.
Well in, Rio. Thankfully, he isn’t the only ex-Manchester-based footballer still trying to make a difference in the local community either:
Campbell, 38, was found dead in his home in Mossley, Tameside, on Saturday 3 July. He had been fatally assaulted and died of the injuries he sustained in the attack.
Belfield was arrested on 23 March 2023 by Suriname authorities on suspicion of drug-related offences – he’ll likely remain in the South American nation’s jurisdiction to face these charges.
Then GMP want to bring him back to Manchester to face questioning from GMP’s Major Incident Team.
Detective Chief Inspector Liz Hopkinson from GMP’s Major Incident team said: “The news of Belfield’s arrest is an important development in our investigation, we will be working with international law enforcement agencies to bring Belfield back to Manchester and continue in our pursuit to find answers for Thomas’ family.
“Through vigilance shown by our colleagues in South America, Belfield was recognised by Suriname’s law enforcement upon his arrest and information regarding his whereabouts was shared with our Force Critical Wanted Unit.
“We have previously released numerous appeals to ask for help in finding him and we thank the public for their continued support in this case.
“This is an excellent result which shows once again, that UK law enforcement does not give up on finding those abroad who are wanted for offences in the UK.”