Solent University has launched a civic charter pledging to work with the community to make a difference in the city and wider region.
First announced in 2019, the inaugural charter has been signed by leaders of 13 other organisations in the city and county – including both local authorities and NHS Organisations, The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Business South and University Hospital Southampton – and outlines how the university will contribute towards the local area’s future growth and development.
“Southampton and the Central South region have ambitious plans for the future and, as an anchor institution within our community, we are pledging to align our future growth plans to that of our peers,” said Professor Karen Stanton, vice-chancellor of Solent University. “This agreement demonstrates our assurance to working with the City of Southampton to bring about positive change, which is needed now, more than ever before, as we emerge from Covid-19.”
The charter identifies four key areas where the university can make the greatest impact:
- Creating a city of life-long learning
- Building a culturally enriched and cohesive city, including work towards securing University of Sanctuary status – a UK-wide initiative recognising universities that foster a welcome and inclusive culture for asylum seekers and refugees
- Championing a healthy and activity community
- Driving economic and sustainable growth – by scaling up projects and initiatives that will benefit residents across the city and wider central South region.
The launch of Solent’s civic charter also sees the launch of a number of new initiatives giving the local community access to university resources. Charities and voluntary sector organisations can now use of Solent’s conferencing facilities for free on the first Monday of every month.
“Our Civic Charter is just as much about how residents can access University resources and expertise as it is about our strategic alignment,” said Prof Stanton. “We’re looking forward to sharing a range of new projects over the next few months, all aimed at supporting the city and wider region and offering a variety of public engagement and knowledge exchange opportunities – and we are always keen to hear from the community about how we can make a further difference.”
Civic agreements were a key recommendation from the UPP Commission’s 2019 ‘Truly Civic’ report which encouraged universities to write agreements with their local communities that detail how the institution seeks to strengthen the local society, economy and culture. Since that 2019 report, over 50 universities have joined the civic university network and announced their intention to develop a civic university agreement. A handful have announced the details of city-wide deals. In 2020, Sheffield Hallam was named the winner of a search for a university to host the civic university network of universities.
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