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The University’s offer to Communities and Organisations

We have created a short summary (PDF) of our offer to communities and organisations and how to access them. Opportunities include:

  • Partnering with us on events to support issues, campaigns and learning
  • Collaborating on research and evaluations 
  • Using our Volunteering Portal to access volunteers  
  • Accessing student internships and work placements or recruit a talented student or graduate
  • Attending talks, events and festivals  
  • Accessing our training courses, and continuing professional development
  • Hiring a selection of facilities and rooms
  • Accessing our procurement opportunities

Consultation and engagement

We will be putting together Civic University Agreements in 2020/21 to assist us in further understanding and responding to local needs and issues. The agreements will include a targeted plan produced collaboratively with our multiple stakeholders and communities. As part of this we are undertaking a consultation to understand views and would welcome thoughts from our communities on this. 

We will strive to put local community voices at heart of the agreement/s and we will find and establish new ways of communicating for this purpose.

Consultation and survey information will be added here when live.

For further information and to sign up to receive updates on the above consultation and survey please contact civic@chester.ac.uk

Background and Civic University Report

The University of Chester considers itself a historic Civic University, founded as a Teacher Training College in 1839, with a mission to serve all our communities.

To add value to this mission, the University signed the national Civic University Pledge in 2019, following the publication of the Civic University Commission Report.

Our pledge

The University has signed up to the following pledge:

‘We will publish our Civic University Agreements publicly. As we develop them, we will be driven by the following principles:

  • As a place-based institution we are committed to attaching a high-priority to the economic, social, environmental, and cultural life of our local communities
  • Our civic role will be informed by an evidence-based analysis of the needs of our place, developed collaboratively with local partners and informed by the voice of our local community
  • We will collaborate with other universities and anchor institutions and form partnerships to overcome the challenges facing our local communities
  • With our partners, we will be clear about what we do and how we measure it, so we can say with confidence what we have achieved – and how we might do better in the future

As a University, we are responsible to our students and our staff, but we are also responsible to the places around us. Our Civic University Agreements will be an opportunity to set out clearly, coherent and creatively how we will fulfil that responsibility.’

Civic University Commission report

The Civic University Commission independent report was published in 2019 – ‘to strengthen the connection between universities and their places’. It found that universities do a vast range of civic work already including championing and partnering on economic, educational and cultural causes and projects. However, their recommendation was that this should be strengthened by taking a more coordinated and strategic approach to civic engagement so that universities can clearly explain the impact they have and show how this benefits people from all walks of life living within their communities.

Building on current civic activity

True to its mission of serving society, the University of Chester is committed to supporting the different communities it serves and so plays a key part in the prosperity and culture of the region. For example, the annual economic impact of the University is estimated at half a billion pounds and students and staff contribute in many ways to improve the lives of others. The following examples give a snapshot of the diverse benefits Your Civic University brings for the population of Cheshire, Wirral and Shropshire and beyond:

  • Encouraging disadvantaged groups and those who have lacked educational opportunities to raise their aspirations and consider higher education through the successful outreach programme.
  • Strengthening public services through the education and development of teachers, nurses, midwives, social workers and police officers for the region.
  • Providing public events on and off-campus in the form of exhibitions, performances and lectures, which are open to all.
  • Usage of campus sports facilities by the community, including the hosting of cardiac rehabilitation for heart attack patients referred from hospital; swimming and gymnastics lessons for children; informal sporting gatherings; hosting of competitions for school pupils; and regular training for local teams playing up to international level.
  • Creating curricula designed to meet skills gaps in the local labour market and participation in workforce planning to feed into industrial strategy at a regional and national level and supporting local schools with curriculum planning and provision.
  • Collaborating with a wide range of public and private organisations on initiatives to improve people’s lives in the region and worldwide.
  • Employing over 1,700 staff members, which makes the University one of the largest employers in the area, providing a livelihood for significant numbers of people. and generating business for local and national suppliers of goods and services.
  • Volunteering by students and staff, which involves a host of voluntary roles in local organisations and participation in many charitable activities. This results in thousands of hours of time given freely every year and tens of thousands of pounds raised for a range of causes.
  • As well as increasing the spending power in the local economy, the student population, which includes people of all ages and international students from over 130 countries, adds to the diversity and cultural enrichment of the region.
  • The fostering of innovation and entrepreneurship through bespoke programmes and facilities results in new business start-ups, and business growth for SMEs which improve employment opportunities in the region.
  • The engagement of staff members through speaking at external public events in a range of different communities in the UK and overseas means that their knowledge reaches a wider audience.
  • Attracting visitors to the area through events such as student Open and Applicant Days, graduation ceremonies and international conferences, together with visiting academics and friends and families of students.
  • Stimulating collaborative work with local, regional and global partners on a range of research projects, which strive to find solutions to real world problems, such as social challenges and climate change.

Geographical areas of focus

As a first step the University has agreed to develop Memoranda of Understanding (MoU’s) with partner local authorities in the following areas, defined primarily by our campus locations:

  • Cheshire West and Chester
  • Cheshire East
  • Shropshire
  • Warrington
  • Wirral

Contact

If you would like to get involved in this work or to be kept updated please let us know by emailing: civic@chester.ac.uk