Project information

A month of innovation at the new Imagination Lab

The Imagination Lab will be a space for thousands of children to reimagine their world. It will support and nurture children in developing the creative and imaginative skills they need for the future, and inform the development of our longer term vision for a permanent space in the capital.

October 2016 - April 2018

Charity information: Institute of Imagination

Institute of Imagination logo
  • Need


    The skills children need for the future are changing as society, technology and our economy changes at an ever increasing rate. Independent thinking, creativity and problem-solving abilities will be key, however, business leaders and employers are concerned that many school and university leavers haven’t developed these qualities. Imagination is the cornerstone of these abilities, it’s an essential skill for life and key to future innovation, and yet, this crucial skill is being overlooked.


    The Imagination Lab will be a public space that prioritises the imagination, helping to understand its power, realise its potential, and create a climate in which ideas can thrive. From it we will deliver school visits, training for professionals and family activities that provide opportunities for children to develop new skills and adults to build confidence and knowledge in new ways of learning.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Provide opportunities for children to develop new skills


    » Create an environment where children can experiment + explore without predetermined outcomes, helping to develop a deeper understanding of new skills
    » Regularly rotate activities to help visitors develop a variety of hard skills, such as coding
    » Encourage the development of soft skills such as team work by creating an open space where visitors are encouraged to engage and work with each other
    » Provide tailored content for children with Special Educational Needs, so every child has access

    Of the 20,000 visitors we expect to receive across the 18 months, 80% of those surveyed will report that they have learnt something they have never had the opportunity to before.

    Aim 2

    Support parents to continue the development of children’s imagination at home


    » Hold ‘Family Day’ events that encourage parents to get hands on with all the activities available
    » Work closely with schools to ensure the development of key takeaways that can be continued at home, and engaging parents with school visits

    80% of surveyed parents will have new ideas to take home and develop their children’s imaginations

    Aim 3

    Build community cohesion through the Imagination Lab


    » Actively reach out to the local community and encourage engagement with a wide range of groups
    » Create a space where different people (families, schools) can connect
    » Proactively engage local partners (makers, designers, artists) and co-create content with them

    We will use 20 local partners and invite all of Lambeth’s mainstream primary schools (63) and SEN schools (5) to visit

  • Impact


    The Lab will provide thousands of children with the opportunity to develop new essential skills, and boost their confidence to experiment and try new things beyond their time with us. The Lab will provide parents and teachers with an insight into different ways of learning, and inspire changes at home and in classroom practice. Working in the community for 18 months, we will be able to carry out on-going evaluation of visiting groups, monitoring skill consolidation and approaches to learning.


    1) Embedding in a new community
    We have a strong track record of working with local families and schools to shape our content, enabling us to quickly embed in a new location
    2) Not securing the right partners
    We have experience of securing partners across a range of sectors, including those within local communities such as Homerton
    3) Raising insufficient funds
    We have a compelling case and a strong pipeline of potential funders. We also have the ability to scale back our programming if needed


    Donors will receive regular update reports during the funding period, as well as quarterly briefings. Thereafter we will also regularly invite donors to the space to see the Imagination Lab in action.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £20,125

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      Amount Heading Description
      £9,000 Facilitator costs (£150 per facilitator / per day)
      £4,000 Materials e.g. 3D printer filament, craft materials, circuit boards
      £2,000 Partner costs Staff and activity costs
      £2,500 Equipment hire Equipment hire, transport, other delivery costs
      £2,625 Core costs 15% of subtotal to cover project management costs. Does not include rent as space has been gifted
  • Background


    The Imagination Lab will be situated on the Southbank in the London borough of Lambeth. With a population of 318,000, Lambeth has a diverse and complex social and ethnic mix. Of the 136,000 households in the borough, approx. 44% are made up of families (incl. lone parent households). After housing costs, 87,000 residents live in poverty (47,000 before) and the borough is the 8th most deprived in London (22nd in UK). This group experience high levels of social exclusion and poor education.


    Children (including those with Special Educational Needs), parents, teachers, and partner organisations.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Our inter-disciplinary approach is child-led, and we have consulted with children, parents and teachers at every step of our development.

    To date, we have worked with over 9000 people across all 32 London boroughs, and have a proven track record of delivering successful community events.

    We have an exemplary advisory board and group of patrons supporting us, as well as a highly experienced and dedicated delivery team.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Tom Doust

    Experience and Learning Director, responsible for oversight of all iOi programming.

    Emma Callow

    Imagination Lab Manager, responsible for day to day delivery and management of the Lab.