Liverpool City Region Combined Authority will today (Friday, 26 July) be asked to approve a grant for up to £6.6m from its Strategic Investment Fund, bringing plans for a Eureka! Mersey visitor attraction at Seacombe Ferry Terminal even closer to fruition.
The original Eureka!, based in West Yorkshire, is the UK’s only national children’s museum and has welcomed more than 7.5 million visitors since it opened in 1992.
Innovative plans for a second Eureka! on the Wirral waterfront have already been submitted to Wirral Council. The proposals are for an £11.75 million world-class visitor attraction for six to 14-year-olds, with an additional area dedicated to 0-5 year olds. The attraction will include exhibits and activities designed to boost children’s development of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) skills whilst enjoying a great family day out.
Eureka Mersey! will be developed on the existing Seacombe Ferry Terminal and Spaceport site, replacing the current Spaceport attraction, allowing the Mersey Ferries to link the new attraction to the Liverpool Waterfront. The innovative plans bring together the playful child-centred approach of Eureka! The National Children’s Museum with 21st century science and discovery centre innovation.
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “Our fantastic museums are an integral part of our world-class visitor offer. Eureka! would add something new and exciting to what we already have and become a major attraction for people within our city region and from further afield.
“The proposed new attraction’s focus on science, technology, engineering and maths, and links with local businesses and young people’s groups, ties in perfectly with the city region’s growth sectors, and our plans to ensure that young people have the skills they need to succeed in tomorrow’s workplace.”
Cllr Ian Maher, Portfolio Holder for Culture, Tourism and The Visitor Economy, said: “The creation of a second Eureka! here in the Liverpool City Region is very exciting and will bring a wide range of benefits, from boosting the local economy, to inspiring our young people, and adding another world-class attraction to what we have to offer visitors.”
The Eureka! Mersey team are already working with schools and youth organisations from across the Liverpool City Region (LCR) to ensure that they create a unique attraction that is relevant to the region’s young people. So far, more than 120 young people have been involved in designing exhibition content, working in partnership with key LCR businesses including Ørsted, Unilever, Sci-tech Daresbury, Arup and Liverpool John Moore’s University.
Last year it was announced that Eureka! Mersey had been awarded £3 million from the government’s Inspiring Science Fund, bringing the plans closer to a 2022 opening. Working closely with partners, including Wirral Council, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) and Merseytravel, other funding sources including Wirral Council have already been confirmed. A range of trusts and foundations and corporate supporters are also being sought.
Eureka’s chief executive, Leigh-Anne Stradeski, said: “We could not be more excited about the prospect of opening a second Eureka! in Wirral. We have engaged extensively with stakeholders across Liverpool City Region in our planning thus far, including children and young people, businesses, academia, education, community and the cultural sector, and the level of engagement, enthusiasm and support has been absolutely incredible. We are hopeful of a positive decision on planning within the next few months.”
The plans for Eureka Mersey! will be aligned with the Combined Authority’s wider plans for investment in a new Mersey ferry in the future.