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Project information

Imagination Matters: Skills for the Future

Since we opened our semi-permanent space - the Imagination Lab - in February 2017 we have welcomed thousands of children who have reimagined the world. We want 2018 to be our biggest and best year yet, making even more impact on our local community and beyond.

January 2018 - December 2018

Charity information: Institute of Imagination

Institute of Imagination logo
  • Need


    We are in period of rapid and increasing global change where it is predicted that 7 out of 10 children entering primary school today will end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist. In this context we must ensure young people to have the creative skills, resilience and confidence to thrive. 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 is a public space that prioritises the imagination, helping to understand its power and realise its potential.

    We will work with children, families and schools across London and provide them with access to experts from a wide range of fields. Our activities are wide ranging, children might create circuits using fruit, make their own drawing ‘robots’ or even build mini super sonic cars! Such inter-disciplinary, child-led learning is key to developing skills for the future.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Provide opportunities for children of all abilities to develop new skills.


    » Create an environment where children can experiment and explore without predetermined outcomes.
    » Provide activities for families and schools using innovative technologies, which are prohibitively expensive in schools or at home.
    » Regularly rotate activities to help visitors develop a variety of hard skills, such as coding.
    » Encourage the development of soft skills such as teamwork by creating an open space where visitors are encouraged to engage and work together.

    What success will look like

    Welcome 30,000 visitors to iOi activities in 2018. 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 and school.


    » Hold Lab Life events for families 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.
    » Provide tailored content for parents with children of all abilities so every child has the opportunity to develop key skills for life.

    What success will look like

    80% of surveyed parents will have new ideas to take home and develop their children’s imaginations.
    c.400 mainstream and SEN schools engaged through Lab and outreach activity.

    Aim 3

    Become a resource and space for our local community in Lambeth.


    » Run dedicated community workshops exclusively for Lambeth residents.
    » Offer children from surrounding housing estates for an after-school club where they can tinker and experiment free of charge.
    » Subsidised tickets to large events at the Imagination Lab.
    » Offer low-income families in the Lambeth c. 300 complimentary tickets to the Imagination Lab events free of charge.

    What success will look like

    Using local partners and networks iOi will engage at least 3,000 residents to Lambeth specific activities.

    Aim 4

    Integrate impact measurement into our work and increase understanding of the power of imagination.


    » Commission a specialist advisor to work alongside iOi to development an impact measurement framework.
    » Consistently collect feedback from at least 10% of visitors who have taken part in our activities.
    » Continue to offer a dynamic programme of activity in response to feedback received by visitors.

    What success will look like

    There will be c.1,000 responses to evaluation questionnaires that we will be able to use to make the case for imagination and adapt our programme in response to feedback.

  • 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. Continuing to engage our local community, we will be able to carry out on-going evaluation of visiting groups, monitoring skill consolidation and approaches to learning.


    Not securing enough funds to deliver the programme: We have a compelling case and a strong pipeline of potential funders, our programme can be scaled back if necessary.

    Not securing enough diverse delivery partners: We have been building a network of trusted partners across a range of sectors to deliver activity since 2011.

    Not integrating into our local community: We have been working in Lambeth since February 2011 and have a strong track record of working with local families and schools.


    Donors will receive regular update reports during the funding period, as well as quarterly briefings. Thereafter we will also regularly invite donors to the Imagination Lab and continue this relationship when we secure our central London site – the iOi Campus.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £243,208

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £144,558 Staff costs Programme Manager, technicians, internal and external facilitators
      £16,068 Running costs Lab running costs, travel to events
      £24,717 Equipment Imagination Lab materials and equipment including virtual reality technology
      £30,193 Impact & Evaluation Research, evaluation and impact management specialist fees
      £5,562 Events Event costs
      £22,110 Other iOi programme management (cost

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Charitable Trust/Foundation (anonymous) £20,000 Guaranteed
    John Lyon's Charity £25,000 Guaranteed
    Charitable Trust/Foundation (anonymous) £20,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The Imagination Lab is in the London Borough of Lambeth, one of the most ethnically, linguistically and culturally diverse areas in the UK – it is also one of the most deprived. There is a lack of dedicated spaces for young people; and community services where families can spend time together are incredibly limited.

    iOi is committed to tackling these challenges and has been working in partnership with Lambeth Borough Council to do this.


    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 17,000 people across all 32 London boroughs, and have a proven track record of delivering successful community events particularly at our Imagination Lab in Lambeth.

    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.

“Imaginative thinking and creative skills are increasingly being recognised as a vital resource for equipping young people to face the future. I am delighted to support the Institute as Patron and its ambitious vision to 'create space for children to re-imagine the world'.”

Sir Ken Robinson, Patron, author, speaker and international adviser on education and creativity.