Children and young people experiencing virtual reality

Lab Central

Lab Central at Redbridge Central Library is the space to create, learn, collaborate and innovate with new technologies. People of all ages are invited to: discover and test new technologies, learn programming and designing skills, experiment with virtual reality, circuits and robots, explore STEAM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) and much more

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


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.


1943 Berlin Blitz is a powerful virtual reality film in which you will join the RAF on a bombing run during the Berlin Blitz. You will be in the shoes of BBC war reporter, Wynford Vaughan-Thomas, and sound recordist, Reg Pidsley, as they document their flight on a terrifying mission over Berlin.

Wynford’s commentary was one of the most ambitious and dangerous reports made during WW2 giving crucial insight into the war to those listening at home. The original radio broadcast went out over the airwaves on 4 September 1943, just a few hours after the plane landed safely back at RAF Langar in Nottinghamshire.

‘VR adds a vivid, tangible dimension to an exceptional and extraordinary piece of journalism, and brings the past and future together beautifully’  Zillah Watson

Kindly provided by BBC VR Hub

Venue: Redbridge Central Library, Lab Central

Date: Tuesday 25 June

Time:  11am to 1pm

Cost and bookings: Children under 16 must be accompanied by a guardian. Free, limited spaces, first come first served



Are you worried about your son/daughter’s performance in science (Physics) and do they need some help? Then come and join with us to revise some key Science (Physics) topics for GCSE. Students from Y7, Y8 and Y9 also will benefit from this workshop.

In this 1 hr session, Nat Sundar will touch base on key concepts for “Forces” – on science (Physics)

  • Exam style questions
  • Will explain the jargons in simple English
  • Tips and tricks to score more marks
  • Plenty of advice for trickiest parts
  • Hands on practice session

About the tutor:

This training will be delivered by Nat Sundar who is a science enthusiast and avid volunteer for Redbridge library and delivered many sessions successfully. Also, he presents on leading technology topics at national conferences. He is also a vivid blogger and has written many blogs.

Tutor will be undertaking workshops in the library about the following topics in the future

  • Science Physics and Chemistry topics for GCSE​

Venue: Redbridge Central Library, Lab Central

Date: Saturday 29 June

Time:  2pm to 3pm

Cost and bookings: Free, please book via Eventbrite 



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.


Please note: 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 stick).

Venue: Redbridge Central Library, Lab Central

Date (please choose only one date): 

Time:  4:30pm to 7pm

Cost and bookings: Free, please book via Eventbrite 


This workshop introduces young children to the wonder of screen-free coding using markers and paper…Yes, markers and papers together with fantastic Ozobot mini-robots!

Learn how to control your robot using different colour Codes. Programme the Ozobot to illustrate in real-time, the children’s book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle.

Use this timeless story enjoyed by many to code the pillars using the moves, sound and other segments. Share your creation whilst the story is being read aloud. Delivered by Ace Code Club.


Venue: Redbridge Central Library, Lab Central

Date: Saturday 20 July

Time:  2pm to 4pm

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


Join this 2 days course (Thursday 1 and Friday 2 August) to get advanced experience building and programming LEGO Mindstorm robots. This course is ideal for children that have already experience with these type of robots.

You will discover:

1. Mini warriors - robots controlled via the EV3 brick using EV3 brick buttons - use of three motors and multiple use of if functions to address more than two alternatives for two motors movement (right/left rutn, forward/backward movement and the 'attack' movement)
2. Speed adjusting racing cars - use of gears and larger wheels to maximize the speed of the robot. Introduction of variables in the program
3. Advanced line follower - a much faster version of the line follower from the beginners course using two sensors. Programming focused on the use of variables.
4. Advanced scout - an advanced version of the scout robot with a distance sensor mounted to a rotable motor, checking where to turn before the change of direction. Coding using multiple nested conditional functions and a conditional loop.

Delivered by PrepareRobo


Venue: Redbridge Central Library, Lab Central

Date: Thursday 1 and Friday 2 August

Time:  10am to 3pm

Cost and bookings: £46, book in advance on EventBrite


During this innovative 4-Day Summer Camp, participants in the Global Air Drone Academy spend the week learning about the emerging drone industry and technology, flight safety, drone building, coding, drone racing, and learn about the future of drone-related careers. As drones are increasingly being used for applications in public safety, agriculture, and construction, students have the opportunity to learn about how this technology is changing the world we live in.

Students will test their skills flying through obstacles while working in functional teams during friendly competitions. Teams will design their own drone technology concepts and applications, essentially formalizing their very own drone business model. Our STEM-focused curriculum will keep students engaged in relevant school subjects while on summer break.

Your child will take home a drone worth £50.

Venue: Redbridge Town Hall, Lambourne Room, 128 - 142 High Road, Ilford IG1 1DD

Date: Monday 12 August to Thursday 15 August

Time:  9:30am to 1.30pm

Cost and bookings: £199, book your ticket via Eventbrite 


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: Goodmayes Library

Date: Tuesday 6 August

Time: 10am to 1pm

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


Venue: Wanstead Library

Date: Tuesday 13 August

Time: 10am to 1pm

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


Venue: Fullwell Cross Library

Date: Wednesday 14 August

Time: 10am to 1pm

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


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)


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 and times:  Tuesday 27 to Thursday 29 August 

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)


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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