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Peterborough university partnership shortlisted in prestigious local government awards


Peterborough university partnership shortlisted in prestigious local government awards

The three partner organisations behind ARU Peterborough, the city’s new university, have been shortlisted in the prestigious Local Government Chronicle (LGC) Awards 2024.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Peterborough City Council and Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) are in the running for the Public/Public Partnership prize, which recognises where partnership working has been successful.

The long-running awards celebrate the best of local government, and organisers say this year’s awards have received a record number of entries, making getting a shortlisting tougher than ever.

The partnership of the Combined Authority, the City Council and ARU successfully delivered on a decades-long ambition to build a new university in Peterborough, opening on time and on budget in September 2022. The main aims of the project are to tackle a lack of higher education opportunity holding back local people, the economy and businesses, and to support the wider regeneration of the city. The University so far represents around £80 million of investment into Peterborough.

Guided by strong partnership working, the development of the campus has continued since opening. Construction completed on a second phase Innovation and Research centre last year, and a second teaching building incorporating a Living Lab public science space is currently under construction to be ready in time for the new academic year in September.

While ARU Peterborough will deliver benefits over the long term, positive impact has already been felt for learners, the community and local employers. Just some of them include:

  • Around half of course applications come from postcodes in the city or surrounding region, showing local people are benefitting from more opportunity in a ‘cold spot’ area for higher education – a key driver for establishing ARU Peterborough in the first place.
  • More than 1,600 local schoolchildren have been welcomed onto the campus for a variety of activities to inspire their futures.
  • The launch of the Peterborough IntoUniversity Centre to provide long-term educational support to young people facing disadvantage.
  • Local businesses benefitting from courses at the campus to support their growth, including 750 small businesses through the Small and Mighty Enterprises Programme.

ARU Peterborough is already multi-award winning. It won in the University Alliance (UK) Awards for partnership working and collaboration and in the Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE) awards in the Impact Initiative of the Year category. ARU also scooped University of the Year at the UK Social Mobility Awards, in recognition of the role ARU Peterborough is playing in advancing social mobility across the city and wider region.

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson said: “Cooperation is central to getting things done and there aren’t many better examples than the delivery of ARU Peterborough, making this Partnership Award shortlisting very fitting.

“Not only was this unique collaboration vital to getting the project going in the first place, joint working continues to be central to ARU Peterborough’s development as we all look to maximise the benefits to learners, the local economy and the community of this fantastic new university.”

Councillor Peter Hiller, Cabinet Member for Housing, Growth and Regeneration at Peterborough City Council, said: “This award shortlisting is testament to the hard work of all three organisations in making the vision a reality for a dedicated university campus in Peterborough. Our partnerships are a vital part of the continuing success story of ARU Peterborough.”

Principal of ARU Peterborough, Professor Ross Renton, said: “Being shortlisted for these awards shows the positive effect of working together across our organisations to benefit the city of Peterborough, and we are grateful for the hard work of colleagues across the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and Peterborough City Council.

“After our work in Peterborough contributed to ARU winning University of the Year at the UK Social Mobility Awards in October and Times Higher Education’s University of the Year in December, we’re thrilled that ARU Peterborough is in the running for such a prestigious award so early in 2024. Hopefully the city and region will have an additional accolade to celebrate.”

The awards night is June 12 at Grosvenor House, London.