Communities set to benefit from new civic engagement programme

Communities across Leicestershire are set to benefit after Leicestershire’s Civic Universities Partnership was chosen as part of a new national programme.

The partnership – which comprises De Montfort University, Loughborough University and the University of Leicester – is one of just 12 selected across the UK to be part of the National Civic Impact Accelerator (NCIA)’s Action Learning Programme (ALP).

Kids in town

The ALP will see universities will work together to look at what challenges exist when planning and developing civic engagement, and co-creating innovative solutions that benefit the communities they serve.  

DMU’s director of engagement Sarah Thomson, co-chair of the Universities Partnership, said they were thrilled to have been selected to be part of the programme.

She said: “Responding to the needs of our place and being in constant conversation with our local communities has always been at the heart of DMU’s strategy and it is fantastic to be able to now undertake that work in partnership with our region’s other two great universities; the University of Leicester and Loughborough University.

“Being part of the Action Learning Programme means that we can learn from other areas and partnerships what is working for them in their civic work
and share best practice across the sector.

“Universities are a fundamental partner in the local placemaking agenda and it is critical we share this work and establish the best ways of working together so we can make the best contributions to our local places and spaces.”

Over the next 18 months, the 12 partnerships will join a dynamic action learning programme, working on a range of challenges, including: how to measure the impact of civic partnerships; how to develop equitable partnerships which realise mutual benefit; how to find meaningful ways to involve communities and citizens in decision making, and how to work with communities to address the climate agenda.
The accelerator is an ambitious three-year programme to gather evidence and intelligence of what works, share innovations, and provide universities with the framework and tools to deliver meaningful, measurable civic strategies and activities. It is led by the NCCPE And Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) and has £3.7m funding.

Leicestershire’s Universities Partnership was launched in June 2022 and during its first year has engaged with communities, local authorities, public bodies and other stakeholders to understand the different challenges facing Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and put forward ideas and initiatives.

There are five key themes: environmental sustainability; health, wellbeing and sport; education; economy and arts, culture and heritage.  

The news comes as the partnership announces the employment of a Universities Partnership Manager. Donna Worship will oversee its work in the first post of its kind to work across all three universities.

Posted on Monday 21 August 2023

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