University of Winchester signs new Civic University Agreement pledging commitment to the local community

1 May 2019

The University of Winchester has reaffirmed its commitment to the city of Winchester and the wider area by pledging to put the economy and quality of life in the local community high upon its list of priorities.

Winchester joins over 50 other universities in the UK in committing to produce a Civic University Agreement in partnership with local authorities and other major institutions.

Professor Joy Carter CBE, DL, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Winchester, said: "Our pledge to produce a Civic University Agreement builds on the excellent work the University of Winchester already undertakes in and around this beautiful city. It aligns with our community impact initiatives, in which we partner with local communities and organisations to foster flourishing people and communities.

"A report published last year showed that the University contributes over £266 million a year to the regional business community. But we do so much more. As an institution guided by our values and a deep commitment to social justice, I welcome the opportunity this presents to continue to make a real difference to our local community as a civic university in the twenty-first century."

The University's impact and expertise locally covers health, wellbeing and communities; education, enterprise and skills development, and digital technologies. Key projects include:

  • A partnership with Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to collaborate on research and education activities to improve patient care and treatments. The University is also launching new Nursing degrees in September 2019 to help meet the shortfall in highly-skilled nurses in the region.
  • The Health Enhancing Lifestyle Programme (HELP) Hampshire Stroke Clinic, a new community clinic set up by health experts at the University to help improve the health, wellbeing and quality of life of stroke survivors through exercise and education.
  • The Women in Digital Enterprise programme which supports women-led businesses to overcome traditional ways of working and use the powerful dynamics of digital connectivity to develop and grow.
  • An active volunteering programme which sees both staff and students support the local community through projects as varied as community action days renovating public play areas, inter-generational tea dances for elderly residents, and the elderly befriending service LinkAges.

Last month, the University was placed in the top 100 universities world-wide in the first-ever global University Impact Rankings put together by Times Higher Education, based on its work in sustainability and social responsibility.

The new Agreement is a key recommendation in a report published today (Wednesday 1 May) by the Civic University Commission set up by the UPP (University Partnerships Programme) Foundation and chaired by the former Head of the Civil Service Lord Kerslake.

Lord Kerslake said: "Universities have an irreplaceable and unique role in helping their host communities thrive - and their own success is bound up with the success of the places that gave birth to them."

"The deep economic and social changes that are happening in Britain today have, alongside Brexit, made the civic role of universities even more vital to the places they are located in. The civic universities of the Victorian era were founded as expressions of civic pride, and as a way of sharing knowledge and opportunity at a time of rapid change. We are now entering a new industrial revolution when it will be even more vital that knowledge is accessible in as many communities as possible.

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