Civic engagement partnership to benefit Leicestershire’s communities

Communities across the county will benefit after Leicestershire’s Civic Universities Partnership was chosen as part of a new national programme.

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

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. 

Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Henrietta O’Connor, the Civic University Partnership lead at the University of Leicester, said: “Leicester is a university founded by the people of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. Our partnership with DMU and Loughborough, as well as local councils, means we can work together to deliver benefits for local people.

“Being selected as a part of the Action Learning Programme is a fantastic tribute to the power of partnership working and a testament to the change we are able to make in the communities within which we operate.

“Leicester is a university built upon a heritage of kindness. Giving back to the community is central to our mission and being part of a national programme allows us to share and showcase the wonderful work the three universities are doing to transform lives in the region.”

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.