The award, launched this year 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 inaugural Professor Sir David Watson Award for Community-University Partnerships will be presented to Community Gateway at the National Co-Ordinating Centre for Public Engagement Engage Conference in Bristol on 7 December.
Professor Debra Humphris, University of Brighton Vice-Chancellor, said: “The quality of submissions for the award was exceptional and I congratulate all those who entered. It is heartwarming to see the growth in university-community partnerships. Community Gateway is a fantastic project and a worthy recipient of the award. Its aims dovetail perfectly with Sir David’s ethos of universities working with communities to improve people’s lives.”
Sir David, who died in 2015, created the University of Brighton’s award-winning Community University Partnership Programme (CUPP) which has supported scores of partnership projects over the past 12 years.
Each year hundreds of academics, students and community partners work together to produce benefits for the community whilst enriching teaching and research.
The new award is hosted at the University of Brighton in Sir David’s memory.
Professor Colin Riordan, Cardiff University Vice-Chancellor, said: “It’s a great honour for Community Gateway to be the inaugural winner of an international award created in memory of Professor Sir David Watson, who was so dedicated to working hand-in-hand with communities for the good of all.
“Community Gateway has been driven by the passion of staff at Cardiff University who believe that good things happen when we listen to what people in our communities want from us. We at Cardiff University are committed to our ‘civic mission’ of promoting social cohesion and helping to improve levels of health, wealth and well-being in the communities, and work together with them to achieve their aims.”
Cardiff’s Community Gateway teamed up with community partners Grangetown Community Action and the Grange Pavilion project to build a long-term partnership with the residents of Grangetown.
Over the past three years the platform has launched 44 community-university projects, brokering connections between Cardiff University staff, students and Grangetown residents to help bring community-led ideas to life.
Projects have included the award-winning Grangetown Youth Forum, a regular Grangetown Business Forum which led to the launch of Grangetown’s first World Street Market, a Run Grangetown running group, an annual mental health day, arts therapy programmes, a Citizen Scientists programme, Grangetown Safety Week, and the renovation of a vacant Bowls Pavilion including the launch of the locally-run Hideout Café with regular philosophy café sessions.
The Sir David Watson award scheme, the first of its kind, attracted entries from around the UK and from countries abroad, including Pakistan and Canada.