The Sunderland science business with the formula to fight back after the pandemic

A Sunderland business has bounced back after the pandemic hit trade hard.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 9:52 pm

Big Science Entertainment boss Neil Harrison told of his pride at being from Sunderland and also at being nominated for a Portfolio award.

The company from St Peter’s Riverside is dedicated to making science fun for children.

Neil and his wife Helen launched Big Science in 2015 after becoming inspired by their own children’s delighted reactions to the educational science experiments they carried out at home.

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Big Science which has been nominated for a Portfolio award.

But the pandemic put paid to their core business which was all about birthday parties and school visits.

Instead, the company adapted and began offering science kits for sale so that people could do science at home. The kits were a huge success.

Another success was the Big Science’s new online sessions which were free and attracted interest from all over the UK.

Neil said: “We changed everything we did. We did Science With Neil sessions online and we were getting schools from all over the UK taking part.

The Portfolio Awards.

"We are going to survive the pandemic and that is huge and we have got lots of interest in different things that we do.”

The nomination for Big Science said: “Big Science now has seven science kits available costs from £14.99 to £32.99,

“These have been incredibly popular and have turned what could have ended the business to the business still operating at a profit.

"We also offered science experiments to be done at home on social media and online. These prove to be a huge success,

Neil Harrison who has big plans for Big Science which has been entered for a Portfolio award.

"The views hit 20,000 and we were regularly peaking at 40,000 views. Due to the success of the videos, we were approached by Sunderland, Newcastle, Gateshead, Middlesbrough Councils to do live videos. Again these were a massive success with the Sunderland video hitting 8,000 views in the first 2 days.”

Neil said he was delighted to have been nominated for a Portfolio award and added: “I love it. I am really proud to be from Sunderland and it is great that this is the third year that we have been nominated.”

The latest Portfolio Awards were launched in November last year when Coun Graeme Miller, Leader of Sunderland City Council which is once again the headline sponsor of the Portfolio Awards, said Sunderland’s business community had responded to the pandemic “with the resilience, innovation and determination that I knew it would.”

He said Wearside had ‘faced economic crises head-on and come through them with the same steadfast focus and work ethic’.

Neil Harrison of Big Science which has been nominated for a Portfolio award.

Big Science Entertainment becomes the latest in an impressive list of entries for the awards but there is still plenty of time for others to put their names in the hat.

We are also delighted to welcome on board the partner sponsors for this year’s awards and they include Gentoo, the Autism Society, Station Taxis and Bradley Hall.

Now comes your chance to enter the competition. To do that, follow the details below.


Make sure you enter before the closing date for nominations. Then, the judges will whittle down the field into a shortlist.

All of the chosen finalists will get to attend the grand finale on Thursday, June 24 at the Stadium of Light.

Neil Harrison of Big Science.

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