An exciting project in partnership with Sheffield Hallam University saw eight young people supported by Bluebell Wood learn how to build their own solar powered car and then test them out in a fun head-to-head challenge at the hospice.

During three online practical sessions, each participant built their car at home from its component parts. They learned how to link up a battery pack and ensure it charged by solar energy and how to change gears and make adaptations to the axle to help the car travel further.

The third session also included a presentation from the Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) race team who demonstrated how they make adaptations to their electric racing car, which is then raced at Silverstone alongside other universities from across the world.

Once the mini solar cars were built, the young engineers, along with members of Sheffield Hallam University, met at the hospice for the ultimate test to find out how fast each car could travel.

After a few trial runs, the race was on! Excitement mounted as each pair of cars was released and timed over the set distance. Everyone enjoyed watching the cars race along and eagerly awaited the results to see who the overall winner would be.

                  

When asked what they enjoyed the most, participants said they liked racing the cars, seeing how far the cars went, socialising, learning something new and the interaction between everyone involved.

Where next? Rachel Parkin, from the Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice Transition and Youth Team, said, "Seeing everyone really engage with this activity has been amazing to watch. It would be great to be able to use this to build something bigger…and go and watch the SHU team race at Silverstone!"

This amazing project was made possible thanks to funding from a British Science Week Community Grant.