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Your Town engineers

young people + community + engineerS = INNOVATIVE CHANGE

Your Town: Transformations by Young People and Engineers

This project is designed to get young people involved in thinking about innovative ideas to improve their town, with support from professional engineers. We want to be able to encourage students to think about careers in engineering through developing design solutions that improve their local area. The project involved young people from 14 schools and colleges across East Sussex and a youth group, working in place-based groups and funded through the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Ingenious Fund.

Over the course of a few months students developed ideas with input from professionals and pitched these designs to an invited audience of local decision makers, with the potential to enlist partners to help take ideas forward.


Students proposals have included an outdoor beach gym, solar lit cycle and pedestrian paths on the seafront, an outdoor cinema, digital tourist/community information screens, an app to promote cycling & cycle safety and another app to help you buy shoes online.


Virtual Work Experience

At East Sussex College Group’s Lewes and Eastbourne campuses students took park in Your Town as part of virtual work experience and then presented during WEX week.

In Lewes, Art & Design and Illustration & Animation students supported by developers, Human Nature and ARUP engineer Eleanor Earl, came up with proposals for repurposing the Phoenix site on the riverbank in the town centre. Some students worked on broad concept ideas for the development including a bridge over the Ouse, electric car charging points, bike hire and a restaurant on a boat. Others took a more design focused brief coming up with designs for ‘parklets’ on the new site which were small green spaces that include seating and places to park a bike. At the final pitch events 3D models of ideas were presented alongside posters and sketch books. Students then presented their ideas and were given the opportunity to engage with a professional audience relevant to the project, and the opportunity to receive live feedback.

"The entire programme was brilliantly facilitated by both Culture Shift and East Sussex College Lewes. The work the students produced was outstanding. We were particularly impressed by the way they responded to our feedback throughout, and presented their work at the end of the project. It was a pleasure to watch their progress over the course of the programme, and I was delighted to be involved. I look forward to working with the students over the summer to build some of their parklets and then exhibit their work at our Phoenix Project Design Festival in September."

Lily Holbrook, Communications Lead at Human Nature


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Construction students from Eastbourne developed ideas for the redevelopment of the Bedfordwell Pumphouse site near Eastbourne Train Station, with support from Hawes construction, Arup Engineer Eleanor Earl, and Park Lane Group’s Gavin Gregory. Students presented their carefully developed plans and drawings. These included using the building as a single space with a gym, exercise halls and Café, using the space as an evening music venue with daytime markets and lastly  a young person run enterprise primarily catering to young people as well as the locals, breaking the space down into a variety of businesses from vintage and upcycling to a café workspace and computer suite. The students addressed issues around the impact on local residents, parking, transport as well as the design aspects.


"The Pumphouse is a typically impossible Eastbourne opportunity: how do we make something wonderful out of a lovely building that was designed for something else. The students put energy, imagination and ingenuity into their ideas and have got us all thinking with renewed optimism of what might be. Something tells me they’ve started something good."

Lord Lucas, Eastbourne peer and keen advocate for engineering education

​"This is a fantastic record for the college and an amazing experience for the students, who can move on from ESC with this on the CV and work in their portfolio.”

Mark Watts, Assistant Principal at East Sussex College Group, Lewes