Leicester ranked third in UK for tackling social and environmental issues


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Leicester has added another feather to its cap after being ranked the third most progressive city in the UK when it comes to tackling social and environmental issues.

The survey, by mortgage experts Bankrate UK, rated cities according to how they addressed issues such as recycling and the gender pay gap, while promoting positive change, and have used it as a pointer for where people should live according to their values and beliefs.

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Leicester climbed seven places in the annual survey, finishing ahead of local rival Nottingham, which came in 12th, while Derby was placed 33rd out of the 50 cities surveyed. Birmingham came in at 32nd while Coventry was 36th.

In the last 12 months, Leicester has been named as the best place in the UK for hiring, one of the top ten cities in the UK for starting a business and one of the top ten UK cities for quality of life.

Commenting on the latest survey, Bankrate UK said: “Whether it’s a green-minded commitment to recycling, a strong voter turnout, or ensuring gender diversity in local government, these cities have not just realised their duty to encourage a socially-aware community, but they are enabling its continued progress.

“How progressive a city or town is can be really important to house hunters, as they look to make their move to a destination that may be better suited to their values and beliefs.”

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Cities were judged in seven categories: Search Trends, including looking up key words and phrases such as LGBTQ+, feminism and fair trade, Voter Turnout, Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants, Recycling Rates, Numbers of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles, Gender Pay Gap and Numbers of Women in Local Government.

The survey is good news for students and staff at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

Chris Hall, DMU’s Head of Equality and Diversity, said: “I’m really pleased to see Leicester move up to third in these rankings. A progressive city is a diverse and inclusive city.

“The measures used reflect many of the values and work that DMU believes in. For example, our LGBT+ work, which we deliver across Leicestershire, and our commitment to eradicating the gender pay gap at DMU.

“I am proud to be a part of the city and a part of DMU and I am delighted that many of our students and staff will have played a role in helping deliver this result.”

Ruth Copeland is owner of Currant Affairs, in The Lanes. It has been trading in Leicester for 40 years and became the city’s first 100% all-vegan shop in 2016.

Ruth said: “We have always been supported by students but we are also proud of having an incredibly diverse range of customers from the very young to those in their 80s and 90s.

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“Our goal is to make veganism accessible to all in a friendly way, while being a shop and a hub for the community. It is really lovely for people to be able to go out and know there are shops respecting their wishes without it being a battle.

“I am Leicester born and bred and I have also lived around the world and it is amazing watching Leicester develop in the way it is at the moment. There is a lot of creative energy here and I am proud to see Leicester ranked so highly for being so progressive.”

Students and staff at DMU’s city centre campus have continued to play a major role in tackling social and environmental issues within the city.

During the pandemic, volunteers have clocked up more than 2,000 hours helping city projects to provide a vital lifeline to many communities via the university’s public engagement team DMU Local, while staff have been using their art and design skills to make vital PPE for frontline health workers.

The university has also just won four nominations for the annual Green Gown Awards, which rewards the greenest campuses in the UK. DMU has halved its carbon emissions, committed to being a zero-carbon campus by 2032 and invested in more than 1,110 solar panels and a biomass boiler.

DMU also worked this year with the Leicester LGBT Centre, alongside  Leicestershire Police, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue and the University of Leicester to develop the Leicestershire LGBT+ Inclusion Awards, which recognises work to advance inclusion in the city and county.

Posted on Wednesday 21st October 2020

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