A CASH POT to help get local youngsters enthused about technology, science and engingeering and maths opened yesterday – with National Grid offering £250,000 in grants to charities and community groups with bright ideas.

The electiricty infrastructure company’s Community Matters Fund aims to inspire young people from marginalised and economically-deprived backgrounds in Devon about technology, maths science and engineering.

Registered charities and non-profit companies could get up to £5,000 each from the fund to provide children and teenagers with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) activities. Meanwhile, unregistered community organisations can apply for up to £2,000. The aim is to help fund projects which go that bit further than lessons in school and the national curriculum to get young people excited about STEM subjects, for which there is a huge demand the energy sector and other industries.

Grants are aimed at projects that bring the often intimidating subjects to life in a lively and engaging way, through hands-on workshops and interactive experiments. They might be used to buy equipment and offer places to use it, for example by launching after-school coding clubs or giving access to 3D printers.

Ellie Patey, community engagement manager for National Grid Electricity Distribution, said: “Big challenges facing schools around resources, time allocation and funding have proven major barriers to engaging kids with this vital area of learning.

“National Grid is committed to widening the appeal of these exciting subjects which can lead to fulfilling and rewarding careers

“We’d particularly welcome Devon-based projects focussed on supporting young people from disadvantaged or underrepresented backgrounds for whom STEM feels unfamiliar, out of reach or even intimidating.

“Inspiring the STEM leaders of tomorrow not only supports National Grid’s wider objectives to deliver a clean, fair and affordable energy future, but also plays a part in meeting the anticipated 400,000 roles needed between now and 2050 to reach the UK’s net zero targets

Applications opened yesterday, Wednesday, March 6 and close on Wednesday, March 27. Grants for successful applicants will be distributed in April. Find out more. at: