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Coventry’s universities and city council join forces to help local community

A national scheme to combine university expertise with the commitment of local council leaders, all for the benefit of local communities, is being trialled in Coventry.

Leaders from Coventry University, the University of Warwick and the city council, are to work together on a project designed to help drive growth, design public services and strengthen the relationship between communities and academic institutions in the region.

Together, the three local organisations will establish an Action Learning Partnership (ALP) which aims to build on the invaluable collaboration which already exists and develop a leadership scheme for the benefit of the city as a whole.

Coventry is one of just six English areas chosen to pilot the new scheme, which is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Local Government Association (LGA) and supported by Universities UK (UUK).

Research by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education has underlined the potential of universities to benefit their local areas and the desire of many councils to engage with them more actively.

Delighted to be part of the pilot scheme, Professor John Latham, vice-chancellor ofCoventry University, said:

It is excellent news that the city of Coventry has been chosen as one of the areas that will participate in the leading places pilot. Collaborative leadership at a local level is fundamental to supporting economic growth and competitiveness, particularly now as governance structures are evolving and becoming more complex.

“As a university we are committed to the lasting development and success of our city. We play a significant role as an investor and an anchor institution working with the city council, the University of Warwick and other key public and private stakeholder organisations. The pilot will enable us to develop our skills and new ways of working and  will result in putting new and transformational ideas into practice and in linking existing initiatives and programmes for the wider benefit of the city.”

Professor Stuart Croft vice-chancellor of the University of Warwick, said:

Coventry has a proud history of innovation and the Action Learning Partnership is an ideal opportunity for our city to collaborate and provide the solutions for the future. Through our global partnerships the University of Warwick is committed to bringing skills and expertise to the city and through the ALP we are delighted to both renew and further this commitment.

“We greatly look forward to working with our friends at Coventry University and the City Council to develop new skills, generate new ideas and bring fresh enthusiasm to our city.”

Universities UK chief executive Nicola Dandridge said:

“Universities have deep roots in their localities and work with local partners to boost economic growth, improve public services and engage with their communities. This is a great opportunity to build on these strong partnerships to be even more ambitious about what we can achieve together for the benefit of local people.”

Chief executive of Coventry City Council, Martin Reeves, welcomed the development and added:

We already have a great relationship with both Coventry University and the University of Warwick and being part of the leading places pilot means that this can strengthen further. The impact that both universities are making on the city cannot be underestimated. We welcome the many thousands of students and staff who add to the vibrancy and status of the city and we are encouraging students to make the city their home long after they have completed their courses.

“At a time of budget challenges in the public sector, sharing skills and expertise is absolutely vital. Universities can also offer so much in helping to shape the physical and social infrastructure of Coventry and I think that they are an asset for all our communities to benefit from now and for generations to come.”

  • Date published: 24th May 2016

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