‘On the Town’ aims to bring together local and HE students communities by focusing on improving peoples’ lives through community ‘building’ activities led by and for young local groups.
It will create a Local Ambassador Programme, fostering dialogue and breaking down silos between local communities and the transient student populations studying there, culminating in a Freshers Week presence hosted by the Local Ambassadors.
The project brings together three midlands locations – Coventry, Loughborough and Stoke-on-Trent – where relationships between communities and universities continue to change as student numbers grow and the student profile diversifies.
This project seeks innovative ways for existing relationships to develop and new relationships to be nurtured. Key to success will be to empower local communities with skills to engage in community and relationship building that places communities’ interests at the heart of the interaction.
Community animation labs and social innovation design labs will reverse the focus of widening participation programmes: bringing the university into the community rather than vice versa. Impacts for participants will include increased skills in organising, leading, communication and civil engagement, with the ultimate aim of providing certification from the universities.
The impact will bring people and their communities closer, boost their sense of belonging and local pride, reduce potential causes for tensions between groups who may not have previous contact with each other, and increase tourism. The perception of each locality will be enriched, and students will have a positive relationship and understanding of the community.