Tue 31 Oct 23
The University of Essex has committed itself to improving the prosperity and wellbeing of communities across North Essex by signing a Civic University Agreement with partners.
The agreement was signed by the University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster and representatives from key partners Colchester City Council, Tendring District Council, Essex County Council, and the North East Essex Health and Wellbeing Alliance.
The agreement is inspired by the national Civic University Network which is campaigning to ensure universities maximise their impact within their communities and embed civic aspirations in their work to drive forward positive social change.
Professor Forster said: “As we begin our 60th anniversary celebrations I am delighted to bring our partners together to set out a vision for collaboration in the years ahead.
“This Civic University Agreement underlines our continuing commitment to being a university founded by the people of Essex for the people of Essex
“The University of Essex has always been committed to making a difference and working towards positive change in our surrounding communities, but through our partnerships the scale and pace of this work is at an unprecedented level.
“This agreement provides a framework for taking this work even further to deliver significant benefits for people in the areas we serve.”
The event included a showcase of partnerships including the Centre for Coastal Communities, the Heart of Greenstead, the Essex Centre for Data Analytics and Freeport East alongside researchers from the School of Life Sciences who are working on a range of projects including the protection of coastal marine ecosystems and Essex Native Oyster restoration.
Guests included Mayor of Colchester Cllr John Jowers, Tendring District Council Chairman Cllr Gary Scott and the High Steward of Colchester Sir Bob Russell.
Essex County Council leader Cllr Kevin Bentley said: “We are thrilled to be part of the civic university agreement alongside other anchor organisations in Essex. We look forward to working together to promote the economic interests, health, wellbeing and prosperity of communities in North-East Essex. Together we can tackle the challenges faced in these areas with help of the excellent research programmes at the University and further develop opportunities for the residents of Essex.”
Colchester City Council leader Cllr David King said: “Colchester takes pride in the University for its contributions in strengthening diversity and creating jobs and opportunities in the city. We value them deeply as well for their research contribution to the Heart of Greenstead project. Together, we're shaping a brighter, more inclusive future for Colchester, with their expertise helping shape how we respond to the needs of our communities.”
Tendring District Council leader Cllr Mark Stephenson said: “The University of Essex is an excellent partner to Tendring District Council and serves our community in many ways – whether that be as a major local employer, an opportunity for people to gain new skills and qualifications from a well-respected world-renowned university, or their work in the community.
“We’re particularly excited about the university’s current work on the Centre for Coastal Communities and involvement in Freeport East, and I look forward to this strong partnership growing further into the future.”
Dr Ed Garratt OBE, Chief Executive of NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board, represented the Alliance at the signing. He said: “Our partnership working is already making a real difference for local people. The Alliance is nationally recognised as an exemplar and aims to be internationally recognised. We are very proud to be a signatory with the ambition to fight for social justice in our communities in Colchester and Tendring and we are very fortunate indeed to draw on the brilliance of the University of Essex to drive significant change and improvement.”