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Community Gateway team are presented with the Professor Sir David Watson Award

13 December 2017

SDW Winners

Cardiff University has been presented with a new international award, hosted by the University of Brighton.

The award, in memory of the University of Brighton’s former Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Watson, recognises the combined efforts of community and university partners towards making a difference in the lives of people in their shared community.

The winning project, Cardiff University’s Community Gateway, works with residents and local organisations to help make the city’s Grangetown district an even better place to live and work by developing world class research, teaching and volunteering opportunities which respond to residents’ ideas.

The Professor Sir David Watson Award for Community-University Partnerships award was presented at The National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement’s (NCCPE) Engage conference in Bristol by Dave Wolff, Director of the award-winning University of Brighton’s Community University Partnership Programme (CUPP), which was created by Sir David. The NCCPE is part of the Founding Group which established the award.

Mr Wolff said: “Sir David, who died in 2015, was principal of the University of Oxford’s Green Templeton College. He led Brighton to gaining university status in 1992 and continued as head of the institution for another 13 years, establishing CUPP in 2003. His achievements are many but included within them are the profound leadership he offered in the establishment of the contemporary university’s role in society, particularly via partnerships with communities."

“Sir David said: ‘Community engagement from a university perspective often means taking a university back to the reasons for its founding. If we look carefully we will see nearly all institutions were put there to make life better for communities in terms of prosperity and social cohesion’.

“The award recognises the efforts of community and university partners working together for mutual benefit.  It has been run in the spirit of community university partnerships:  co-governed by a global range of colleagues from the university and community sectors, with the winner democratically chosen by individual donors.

“This year’s winner Cardiff University’s Community Gateway is a worthy recipient of the award. Cardiff’s Community Gateway teamed up with community partners Grangetown Community Action and the Grange Pavilion to build a long-term partnership with local residents that has provided substantial and enduring benefits.

“Cardiff University has a long history of community university relations. As early as 1901, the Cardiff University Settlement in Splott was created to improve social conditions in the in one of the poorer areas of the city. The University’s current contribution is illustrated by its hefty haul of awards for its engagement work including the Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community.

Cardiff University’s current Engagement strategy has focused on five flagship engagement projects that help those who do not traditionally engage and their next strategy is responding to a call to action from the Welsh Government to support social cohesion focusing on health, wealth and well-being.

“We will be running this award again and I am delighted to announce that Cardiff University will join the Award Advisory Board too, using their expertise to help us develop the award for the future.”

Award Winners

Mhairi McVicar, Project Lead for Community Gateway said:

"We are honoured to have been selected to receive this award. Community Gateway would not function without the hard work, not just from the team, but also from our community and university partners and we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that has been involved and made the project into such a success. We look forward to what the next 5 years of Community Gateway!"

The award scheme, the first of its kind, attracted entries from around the UK and from countries abroad, including Pakistan and Canada.

The scheme is supported by an international group of networks and leaders in the field including the Talloires Network, a global network of community-engaged universities that Sir David helped to build and lead, and Drs Budd Hall and Rajesh Tandon, the UNESCO co-chairs for Community Based Research. Sponsors also include the University of Winchester and Engagement Australia which helps develop best practice university-community engagement in Australia.

Individual donors to the award fund selected the winning application. To donate to the award fund, go to: Just giving David Watson Award

More information on the Community Gateway project.

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