Bute astronomy club awarded £25,000 science grant

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THE Bute Astronomical Club has been given a grant of £25,000 from the government’s Talking Science funding programme to spread the word about the skies above us – not just on Bute, but all over the west of Scotland.

The grant is one of the first pieces in the funding jigsaw for the combined heritage, science and activity centre proposed for Meikle Kilmory on the west side of the island, in which the club is a major partner.

The Bute award is one of 16 to share in a funding pot of £345,000, given to projects across Scotland with the aim of increasing understanding of science among more than 117,000 Scots.

Sylvia Jardine from Bute Astronomical Club, who is also the project officer for the Bute Conservation Trust, the ‘parent’ of the Meikle Kilmory project, said: “We’re going to be doing outreach across the whole of the west of Scotland.

“The money is for one year and will create two part-time jobs – one as a project manager and the other to go out and organise events for schools, clubs and other organisations, promoting both astronomy and Bute.

“The great thing is that we don’t need a building to start making use of this money – we can take astronomy out to places where people don’t have easy access to a science centre.”

Scottish minister for science Alasdair Allan said: “Scotland has a rich history and exciting future in the world of science. We are a nation of discovery and invention and science remains a popular choice in our schools, but it is important to ensure a wider understanding of its role is maintained within the wider population.

“A quick scan of the subjects we’ve been able to fund underlines the diverse nature of this area – the environment, marine life, archaeology and stem-cell research, are just some of the specialities covered.

“Science is the fabric of life. Through this funding we will take science out to a range of hard to reach audiences, including some of our more remote rural communities, and help ensure that Scotland remains a ‘science nation’.”