Help us build our new Strategy, enabling opportunities to enrich and transform lives in our community.
Published Thursday, 18th March, 2021 in University news
In 2020, City formed a Civic Engagement Task & Finish Group to work on developing and delivering a new Civic Engagement Strategy at the University. The group, chaired by Professor Zoe Radnor (Vice President – Strategy and Planning; Equality, Diversity & Inclusion) is made up of representatives across each of the Schools, Professional Services and the Students’ Union.
This page aims to provide an overview of what civic engagement means and why its important, outline some examples of the work we’re currently doing and give you the opportunity to share your views.
What does ‘civic engagement’ mean?
There are lots of different terms used to describe the engagement activities that universities undertake locally, nationally and globally – including ‘public engagement’, ‘community engagement’ and ‘social engagement’.
In February 2021, the Group agreed a Vision statement for the strategy:
Building on City’s charitable roots, we will work with and for our vibrant and diverse communities to create and share knowledge and skills, strengthen and connect partnerships and enable opportunities in order to enrich and transform lives.
Members of the Task & Finish Group have shared what civic engagement means to them in a few words. Here are some examples:
- "It is about working with and for people, those in our neighbourhoods and in our wider community"
- "Engaging in activities to benefit society – from health to economic wellbeing to intellectual stimulation"
- "A virtuous circle of support"
- "Making things more equal"
- "Providing opportunity"
Why is civic engagement important to City?
If we are to succeed and grow in the future, we need to support and sustain all parts of the community around us.
By engaging with the increased inequalities that exist through our research and education, we can help to provide more opportunities, promote social inclusion and help the local economy to thrive.
We are doing this already, but by delivering a strategy City can have even more of a positive impact on its community.
Professor Zoe Radnor (Vice President – Strategy and Planning; Equality, Diversity & Inclusion), chair of the group, said:
As an anchor institution having a clear Civic Engagement Strategy is important so we can set out how we support, engage, learn from, understand and work alongside our communities and stakeholders.
What civic work are we currently doing at City?
Lots! You may already know about or be involved in some of the civic work and projects that we currently do at the University. We can categorise these into five themes: Economic prosperity, Education, Health and Wellbeing, Society and Sustainability. Below are a few examples for each of our themes:
Economic prosperity: Developing an inclusive, vibrant and dynamic local economy.
Aim: Working closely with businesses and individuals, and through our direct impact as a large organisation, we will support the local economy in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and in responding to current and future workforce needs.
- Better Space affordable workspace partnership:City has partnered with Islington Council in ‘Better Space,’ a ten-year collaboration that will provide genuinely affordable workspace to micro and small businesses and deliver a range of social value initiatives for the benefit of residents, businesses and communities in the borough
- City’s Centre for Charity Effectiveness: Supports charities based locally in capacity building and governance, as well as through training, resources and ‘Charity Talks’, events led by leading figures in the sector which have seen over 10,000 attendees since they were founded 25 years ago.
Education: Enabling our community to achieve their educational potential
Aim: We will improve educational aspirations and attainment levels and increase lifelong learning and professional development opportunities for all.
- Providing free legal advice to the community: Through our registered LawWorks clinic, The City Law School students offer free legal advice in a range of areas to members of the public.
- STEM Girls that code: Staff in the School of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering are working with girls to improve diversity in technology
Health and Wellbeing: Improving the health and wellbeing of members of our community
Aim: We will address particular health challenges within our communities through our contribution to the healthcare economy and by encouraging healthy and active lifestyles.
- Fighting knife crime in London through ‘Street Doctors’ initative: City nursing students support this campaign against local knife crime, visiting schools and youth centres across North-East London to teach first aid to 11–25-year-olds who are at risk of experiencing violence.
- Vaccine education: The School of Health Sciences offers vaccination training to healthcare professionals.
Society: Supporting an inclusive, fairer and more cohesive society
Aim: We will challenge and tackle social inequality and promote the value of diversity through our research, our approach to education and our institutional culture and values.
- Helping to combat digital poverty in the pandemic: In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, City’s Widening Participation Outreach team developed learning packs that were distributed through schools and food banks to families impacted by digital poverty, as well as an outreach blog that parents, teachers and students could access to support home learning. The team engage with around 100 schools each year to empower underrepresented learners to access and succeed in higher education, delivering a programme of targeted activities.
Sustainability: Creating a greener, cleaner and more sustainable future
Aim: We will enhance the environment through the application of our innovative research and demonstrate the University’s sustainability commitment by supporting our local communities to adopt sustainable practices.
- Islington Sustainable Energy Partnership (ISEP): City is a steering group member of ISEP, a network in the borough for organisations who want to reduce energy costs, cut carbon emissions and manage their environmental impacts. ISEP promote sharing and learning between energy and sustainability professionals, provide advice, events and resources, and help members get involved in local community projects – including placement opportunities for City students.
- Too Good To Go initiative: Sodexo at City partners with the food waste app, ‘Too Good To Go’, providing surplus food at a reduced price to app users – helping to combat food waste and the stigma of buying cheap or free food.
Now we need to hear from you
Our Civic Engagement Strategy will focus on the five themes mentioned above: Economic prosperity, Education, Health and Wellbeing, Society and Sustainability. We’re keen to hear from you about these to help with the final development of the strategy.
- Do you think we’re missing anything from these themes?
- Do you have any suggested activities that we could do or groups that we could work with which would fall under these themes?
Let us know by completing a short survey.