REACT Foundation receives high praise for volunteers’ “amazing work”

The REACT Foundation charity which has inspired more than 63,000 young people has been presented with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award given to UK volunteer groups, equivalent to an MBE.

Pete Woolaghan, co-founder and chairman of the REACT Foundation, which has been inspiring young people across Cumbria to enjoy science and engineering since 2004, said the award was recognition for the amazing work done by the group’s volunteers.

Pete, who set up the Foundation along with pioneering business REACT Engineering’s co-founders Steve Knight and Trevor Craig to mark REACT’s tenth anniversary, said: “This award is about the volunteers. They are the people who make it happen and make it real. This is recognition for all that they do to help young people.

Honour: The REACT Foundation charity has been presented with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

“It’s also a thank you to the wider group of people across the community, teachers in schools. colleges and universities, and parents who help support the work of the Foundation.

“The REACT Foundation is about motivating young people into careers in science and engineering. I want the Foundation to open young people’s eyes to what opportunities are out there so they can make informed decisions.

“I don’t want one young person in Cumbria growing up not knowing about engineering and science. It may not be for them. But I want to make sure no child grows up without knowing it’s an option, and therefore doesn’t miss out on opportunities.”

The Lord Lieutenant of Cumbria, Claire Hensman, presented the REACT Foundation team with the Queen’s Award on Wednesday (August 18), and spoke of her pride in the fantastic work the volunteers do to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists.

She said: “The projects and schemes run by this remarkable, volunteer-led organisation are extremely inclusive, and more than 63,000 children have been involved with the excellent work carried out by the REACT Foundation since it was founded in 2004, and that is an incredible figure.

“Charities often rely on volunteers who have retired but what sets the REACT Foundation apart is that there are often young volunteers closer to the age of participants, and that certainly helps the effectiveness of the message that they too can forge careers in the industry.

“The REACT Foundation is indeed an excellent and remarkable charity which is efficiently operated, and I can think of no worthier winner of the Queen’s Award.”

The charity runs an extensive, targeted programme of events for young people including annual Science Shows sponsored by RWE and the University of Cumbria, and led by outreach developers from the national Science Museum in London.

Proud moment: The Lord Lieutenant of Cumbria, Claire Hensman, presented Pete Woolaghan, chairman and co-founder of the REACT Foundation, with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service at Cleator Moor, Cumbria

The Foundation’s Science Shows have grown to now reach 7,500 young people in Cumbria each year and more than 84,000 students since they began.

The charity also runs ICanToo programmes with local schools, a midweek REACTioneers evening club for young children in the community which has been visited by Princess Anne,  and held a groundbreaking Infinity science festival in Cumbria attended by Professor Brian Cox.

All the activities are run by volunteers, including visits to science events around the UK.

The REACT Foundation charity has been presented with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, by The Lord-Lieutenant for Cumbria Claire Hensman. Pictured Pete Woolaghan, co-founder and chairman of the REACT Foundation receiving the award from The Lord-Lieutenant for Cumbria Claire Hensman.

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