First Person: ‘Why we’re PROUD of Leicester’

Posted by ap507 at Jun 02, 2016 10:20 AM |
Dave Hall discusses the University's commitment to work in and with the city of Leicester to improve economic, social and cultural wellbeing

We, at the University of Leicester, are concerned about the impact that we have locally; the economic, social and cultural benefits that we can deliver to the local region; and how we can use our expertise, staff and students in order to address some of Leicester’s challenges.

We all have a shared agenda of wanting the city and county to be a place where people want to come to live and work. There’s been a lot of development in the city centre over the past few years: Commercial development, retail development and, since the university’s discovery of the remains of King Richard III, the thriving heritage industry has received a further boost. In recent years, the city has played a key role in promoting itself not only to its own people, but also in establishing itself as a welcoming place where students want to stay and work after they graduate.

Now, the university is addressing some of the difficult issues that the area faces, such as the skills shortage, ensuring the success of the local economy, and increasing access to cultural and leisure activities. Every year, we graduate a couple of hundred doctors, many of whom stay and work in our local hospitals, as well as teachers, many of whom have gone on to work in Leicester schools. We are also working with a number of Leicester-based organisations to encourage our other graduates to stay in the city and contribute to the local economy.

In terms of cultural investment, our local arts centre, Attenborough Arts, has been working with diverse communities since the nineties, helping them both access and participate in art. The University of Leicester Botanic Garden, a popular local destination, has more than 65,000 visitors every year, including 13,000 schoolchildren. The National Space Centre, which was our brainchild and was co-founded by the university, has attracted more than 3 million visitors since its inception.

Going forward, we are keen to work more directly with the city so that we are ensuring that the initiatives and projects that we do locally tie in with local and regional priorities. We describe our work under the banner of PROUD: PROUD of our Leicester, PROUD of our city.

PROUD is the University of Leicester’s commitment to work in and with the city of Leicester to improve economic, social and cultural wellbeing through five themes: “Promoting Health and Wellbeing”, “Restoring the Environment”, “Opening Access to Culture and Heritage”, “Upskilling for the 21st century” and “Developing Children and Young People”. Through this scheme, we have a series of initiatives underway that we think closely maps the city’s agenda and increases our positive impact on a local, national and international scale.

Dave Hall is Registrar and Chief Operating Officer of the University of Leicester.

The PROUD Podcast – Showcasing why the University of Leicester is PROUD of its city:

 

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Think: Leicester does not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Leicester - it expresses the independent views and opinions of the academic who has authored the piece. If you do not agree with the opinions expressed, and you are a doctoral student/academic at the University of Leicester, you may write a counter opinion for Think: Leicester and send to ap507@le.ac.uk