Children and young people experiencing virtual reality

Lab Central

Lab Central is a digital makerspace for people to meet, learn, create and innovate at Redbridge Central Library in Ilford. It is the place for makers, tinkerers and inventors to work together, imagine, try new things, learn and have fun!

We offer the opportunity to participate on digital activities such as 3D printing, coding, robotics, electronics, animation, virtual reality and much more for people of all ages. Come to Lab Central to try out equipment that you wouldn’t normally have access to and learn how to use it by participating on workshops or dropin on one of our self-learning sessions.

Make sure to check this page regularly for updates and bring your family and friends to enjoy learning new digital skills. To receive email updates on the events at Lab Central be sure to join our Meetup group.  Check out our Youtube channel to see Lab Central in action as well as the other range of exciting activities at Redbridge Libraries. Subscribe and hit the notification button for the latest updates and video content!


The micro:bit is a pocket-sized computer 70 times smaller and 18 times faster than the original BBC Micro computers used in schools. And now any adult or child from 8 yrs+ can borrow it for free from any Redbridge Library!

It has 25 red LED lights that can flash messages and be used to create games as well as two programmable buttons that can be used to control games or pause and skip songs on a playlist. Create your very own code, compile your own script and let your imagination run wild. The possibilities are endless!

Visit the micro:bit website for projects, challenges and to even find out how to connect it with the micro:bit app for phones and tablets.

Remember to bring back you micro:bit on time to avoid paying any late return fines.


Come along to this 3 day workshop delivered by East London Radio and create your own radio show!

Day 1 - Introduction to course and discussion on radio. Children will agree subject(s) to present and 2 groups will be created.

Day 1 and 2 - Start research in the library, and prepare scripts for the radio show.

Day 3 - Introduction to Cranbrook Centre and ELR Studio, finalise and rehearse scripts, record show in studio.

Suitable for 9 to 11 years


Venue: Redbridge Central Library, Lab Central

Date: Monday 19 August & Tuesday 20 August

Time: 10am to midday


Venue: East London Radio, IG1 4SB

Date: Wednesday 21 August

Time: 10am to midday

Cost and Bookings: FREE Please book in advance at the library. You must be able to attend all sessions 


3D printing software has come of age; much of it is versatile, flexible and easy to use and the same goes for 3D printers. This hands-on workshop is perfect for beginners interested in learning best practices to work with free 3D design software.

You will learn to use 3D software to prepare a model for printing, a workflow with export formats, how to set up the printer and safety tips and requirements. You will print a basic 3D printable object. Please bring your own storage device (usb, sd card or portable hard-drive) to save your work. 


Venue: Gants Hill Library

Date: Wednesday 21 August

Time: 2pm to 5pm

Cost and bookings: Free, first time first served (very limited spaces)


Venue: South Woodford Library

Date: Tuesday 27 August

Time: 10am to 1pm

Cost and bookings: Free, first time first served (very limited spaces)


If you think maths is hard and you find it hard to teach it to your child come along to this workshop and learn together how to help solve those maths problems. Be involved with maths and have fun!

Important: this is a family learning activities and an adult should also take part. Max 2 children per adult.


Venue: Redbridge Central Library, Lab Central

Date:  Wednesday 21 August 

Time:  2pm to 4pm 

Cost and bookings: Free, book in advance at the library


Virtual Reality is an interactive computer-generated experience taking place within a simulated environment that incorporates auditory, visual, haptic, and other types of sensory feedback. This immersive environment can be similar to the real world or it can be fantastical, creating an experience that is not possible in ordinary physical reality.

Important: Please notice that we won’t be supervising children at this session, and they will be able to come and go as they please, so kindly stay with them and take part.


Venue: Redbridge Central Library, Lab Central

Date:  Thursday 22 August 

Time:  10:30am to 1:30pm 

Cost and bookings: Free, drop in, first come, first served


Free, first come first, first served, very limited spaces

This is a 3D Digital Design workshop session that allows participants from previous workshops and activities maintain continued access to their on-going projects with support from Industry professionals. it is part of the ever increasing range of tech & makercraft related activity offerings that Redbridge Libraries are making available to enthusiastic Techies, (or Techsters) in the borough.

Participants will get to use and practice the skills they have learnt in previous sessions. They will accomplish this by completing and developing Lab Central, Tech Ilford and personal Digital Design & Makercraft projects. They may be required to work in teams or independently to complete given assignments and tasks. Their conduct and success in these endeavours will determine whether they can participate in future workshops of this kind.

Important: All participants need to come prepared to work. They must bring a note book to take down critical information and notes, as well as a storage media device, (USB).This is a loosely supervised session and your child will be able to roam the library in the short break mid-session.


Venue: Redbridge Central Library, Lab Central

Date:  Thursday 22 August 

Time:  2pm to 5pm 

Cost and bookings: Free, first come, first served


Did you know that computers represent everything, even pictures, with numbers? Isn’t that amazing?

Come along to this workshop to  see how computers turn the pictures you design into numbers.

Let’s go back to the basics to learn how to use (x, y) coordinates and discover how computers create and store images.


Venue: Redbridge Central Library, Lab Central

Date:  Friday 23 August 

Time:  11am to 1pm 

Cost and bookings: Free, first come,first served


Get immerse in a different world and explore space this summer using Virtual Reality. Each sessions lasts approximately 20 minutes


Venue: Redbridge Central Library, Lab Central

Date:  Wednesday 28 August 

Time:  2:30pm to 3:30pm (20 minute sessions) 

Cost and bookings: Free, first come first served, registration open one hour in advance


Come to this course (2 days and a half) and let us introduce you to the joys of ‘Making and Inventing’ with super easy to use electronic components and programming techniques. Create inspirational Robotic Creatures for a special robot wonderland showcase made from discarded items and materials. Creativity + Robotics = Awesome!

You will use the BBC micro:bit to control the Hummingbird Robotic Kit and all its components: motors, servos, LEDs and sensors (light, distance, sound…) to build an Animal Robot of your choice that represents a creature you love from nature. Then programme it to light up, move and react to passers-by, in ways that make it look at home in its Wonderland environment.

 If you can, please bring a cardboard box and other recycling materials of your choice to build and decorate your robot. This workshop is part of our “Reuse, Recycle...Robots” project supported by Carnegie Library Lab.

Delivered by U Can Too.

Suitable for children aged 9 to 11, please do not buy tickets for younger children. If your child requires the bathroom, and at lunch, they will be unsupervised. Arrive 10 minutes before the session to secure your place.


Venue: Redbridge Central Library, Lab Central

Dates:  Tuesday 27 to Thursday 29 August 

Times: Tuesday and Wednesday from 10am to 4pm and Thursday from 10am-12:30pm

Cost and bookings: £20, book your ticket via Eventbrite 


Come along to this hands-on session of basic programming with our cool Code-a-Pillars. By arranging and re-arranging the segments of the caterpillars your children will have fun while learning about directions, sequencing and problem-solving. An interactive session to give your child their first taste for coding.


Venue: Redbridge Central Library, Lab Central

Dates and times: Third Friday of every month, term time only, 11am to midday

Cost and bookings: Free, first come first served (limited spaces available)


  • Do you own a DSLR camera and want to know how to use it?
  • Do you leave it on auto and not understand the other settings?
  • Want to know what ‘Aperture’, ‘Shutter speed’ ‘ISO’ etc. is?
  • Want to learn basic Photoshop skills?

Come join our friendly group. We learn from each other in this informal group and share information, skills, and advise.


Venue: Redbridge Central Library, Lab Central

Dates and times: Saturdays, 26 October, 23 November, 21 December, 2pm to 4pm

Cost and bookings: Free, just turn up and bring your camera


CodeUp Ilford is a mentoring program for adults who would like to learn how to code for free. Once a month we provide a workspace for people with no programming skills to come and learn the basics, with mentors available to answer your questions and help you on your way.

Our sessions are also suitable for people with basic skills who need support to develop them, and even for people with intermediate or advanced skills who just want to come along to a space where everyone is immersed in code! We also encourage it to be a self-learning group with learning resources available to help. Please ensure you bring along your own laptop. 

We are also looking for mentors, please check our website for details on how to apply


Venue: Redbridge Central Library, Lab Central 

Date: Second Wednesday of the month

Time: 6pm to 7:30pm 

Cost and booking: Free, first come first served


 With the support of tech volunteers, children will have the opportunity to learn the basics of coding with easy to follow step-by-step guides by making animations and games. The club is free but spaces are limited. Please book in advance with the library.

We are looking for volunteers with a tech background to help us run these sessions and encourage a new generation of young programmers. Please contact the libraries for details. 

Gants Hill Library

Saturdays, term-time only 

10am to 11am

Goodmayes Library

Saturdays, term-time only
9:45am to 10:45am

Fullwell Cross Library

Saturdays, term-time only 

10am to 11am

Redbridge Central Library

Saturdays, term-time only
10:15am to 11:15am 

Wanstead Library

Saturdays, term-time only
10am to 11am


Share your skills

A new generation of children are looking for people like you to show them the magic of experimenting with technology, making your own stuff and learning by doing and sharing.

If you are 14 years old plus, come and volunteer to help us deliver an engaging programme of tech activities at this newly created space. Get in contact by emailing  to let us know about your skills.

Use the space

We are in the process of buying equipment to kit this new space and make it as exciting as possible. We will have Raspberry Pi devices, virtual reality technology, digital animation software, robotics and electronics kits, and much more.

Let us know if you would like to run a group at Lab Central focusing on a technical field of your interest. Make us a proposal by emailing We look forward to hearing from you.


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