The Astro Science Challenge gets on shortlist for a Charity Award

We are delighted to announce that we’ve made the shortlist for this year’s Charity Awards, the longest-running and most prestigious awards scheme in the charity sector.

We’ve been shortlisted in the Arts, Culture & Heritage category for the The Astro Science Challenge project, an interactive space science adventure designed to inspire children aged 7-11 in STEM subjects.

In 2010 we accidentally set up our own space agency as a way of telling inspirational stories about science through space exploration. Six years later and the Unlimited Space Agency works closely with the European and UK Space Agencies and our patron is the British ESA astronaut Tim Peake who has been supporting the project while on board the International Space Station. On hearing the news, Tim sent a congratulatory email from space:

“This is great news – congratulations! I’m proud to serve with UNSA on its mission to inspire the next generation of scientists and space explorers.”

The project uses interactive storytelling to inspire children to “do science” with free lesson plans that have been made in close collaboration with some of the UK’s most prestigious science organisations including the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the Met Office, the British Science Association and the Science Museum. So far 12,000 children from more than 450 schools and home education groups have taken part in the project, which is free and still taking new signups at

“We loved it! The people running it made a great effort to engage with all the children. Thankyou!” Home Educator

“Outstanding! Many activities and resources that I will incorporate into my plans for years to come. I and the children loved every challenge and we have all learnt so many new things – I learnt to use a 3D printer!!!!” Teacher, Key Stage 2 Leader, Years 4-6

The Charity Awards is the sector’s most highly-regarded excellence recognition scheme. All 30 shortlisted charities this year have been judged by an independent panel of sector leaders as having demonstrated outstanding best practice from which other organisations can learn.

Tania Mason, editorial director at Civil Society Media which organises the Charity Awards, congratulated us on making the highly-coveted shortlist. She said:

“We had a record number of entries this year, and the standard was particularly high, so Unlimited should be very proud to have made the shortlist. For 16 years the Charity Awards have been identifying and celebrating the fantastic work that UK charities do, and the rigorous judging process ensures that only the very best-run charities make it through.”

This is the second time Unlimited has been shortlisted having gone on to win the 2011 award in the same category. Our Artistic Director and Chief Executive Jon Spooner said:

“We’re over the moon to have been shortlisted for such a prestigious award! We’re only a very small organisation with a core team of just seven people and while we don’t do what we do to win awards, this sort of recognition is a great incentive to keep doing what we do in an increasingly tough environment. It’s fantastic to hear that the work we are doing is valued not just by the children and audiences we work with, but by our peers as well. I’m also delighted that the other two shortlisted organisations in our category Northern Ballet and the Eureka Children’s Centre are also from West Yorskhire!”