PLANS to open a children's science and discovery centre on Wirral waterfront have moved a step closer after a £3m funding boost.

The money, from the Inspiring Science Fund, will go towards the £11m total needed to open the Eureka! Mersey facility at Seacombe Ferry Terminal.

Aimed at seven to 14-year-olds, the centre aims to inspire young people to explore science, technology, engineering, arts and maths.

Set to open in 2021, it will feature 2,200m² of interactive exhibition space with workshops, shop, café and adjoining outdoor science park.

Science minister Sam Gyimah said: "We want to bring the wonders of science to as wide an audience as possible and that's why it is at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy.

"Today's investment will help inspire people from across the country to learn about the truly amazing benefits that science and technology has on all our lives."

Cllr Phil Davies, leader of Wirral Council and Liverpool City Region lead for economic development and culture, said: "A world-class, family-friendly, innovative and incredibly successful attraction like Eureka! would be a welcome addition to the Mersey waterfront.

"Eureka! would not only inspire children locally, but also attract visitors from across the North West and beyond, driving additional passenger traffic onto the Mersey Ferry and increasing visitor spend across the city region.

"Working with organisations such as Eureka! is definitely the way forward to promote learning, and to also support our commitment to supply the skills for future growth and bring new businesses to the city region."

Leigh-Anne Stradeski, chief executive of Eureka!, said: "We are moving closer and closer to bringing Eureka! to the Wirral waterfront and truly believe it will transform the lives of local children and young people.

"This funding from the Inspiring Science scheme is a major step forward for our aspirations to create this world-class visitor attraction in partnership with Wirral Council, Merseytravel and the Liverpool City Region LEP.

"We are absolutely thrilled and it means we can now develop our plans further, working towards delivering a centre which reflects the context, spirit and ambitions of the area."

Eureka! Mersey will build on the success of the National Children’s Museum in Halifax, which has welcomed more than seven million visitors since it opened in 1992.

Steve Rotheram, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, said: "I am delighted that we will soon be welcoming Eureka! to the city region.

"Eureka! has been a huge success in Halifax as a very popular visitor attraction with a serious remit to instil excitement and interest in science, technology, engineering and maths.

"I'm sure it will help attract visitors to the Wirral as well as inspiring our next generation.

"We have a long-term ambition to encourage more girls to study STEM subjects in school, and having Eureka! here in the city region will definitely support that aim."