Historic town and gown agreement will benefit communities in the Lancaster district

An historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed to deepen relationships between ‘town and gown’ for the benefit of communities in the Lancaster district.

Friday, 26th November 2021, 12:30 pm
Vice-Chancellor of Lancaster University Professor Andy Schofield (seated left) and Chief Executive of Lancaster City Council Kieran Keane sign the Memorandum of Understanding at a ceremony this week. They are seen with the Leader of Lancaster City Council, Councillor Caroline Jackson (standing right), and Ms Sarah Rees, the Head of Stakeholder Relations at Lancaster University.

Endorsed by Lancaster City Council and Lancaster University, the aim of the agreement is to strengthen the existing collaborative relationships between the two organisations to achieve social, environmental, and economic improvements.

While the council and university already collaborate successfully on a number of important projects, including Light Up Lancaster, Eden Project North and the Mill Race Heritage Action Zone, the signing of the MoU will create new and exciting opportunities to work together and draw on university research to help find lasting solutions for local challenges.

Recent joint work has included researchers from the university’s ‘Beyond Imagination’ project working with the community to help them contribute to recommendations on how to transform social housing on the Mainway Estate in Lancaster.

From left to right: Vice-Chancellor of Lancaster University Professor Andy Schofield and Head of Stakeholder Relations at Lancaster University Ms Sarah Rees with Leader of Lancaster City Council Councillor Caroline Jackson and Chief Executive of Lancaster City Council Kieran Keane at the Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony this week.

The vision for the partnership will initially cover four themes; economic inclusion and prosperity, environmental sustainability, healthy, happy and connected communities, and reimagining public services.

To achieve this vision, projects will be developed via an ‘Insights Hub’, a forum to meet, contribute ideas, collaborate, and share resources. In addition to representatives from the city council and university, the hub will also welcome contributions from public, private and community organisations.

Councillor Caroline Jackson, leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic we have seen how, by working together with other organisations, the council can support and make real changes for its communities.

“As we continue the long road to recovery these relationships will become even more important if we are to rebuild our economy and create new opportunities for people and businesses.

“The city council and the university both share a vision to make the Lancaster district a thriving and collaborative place and I’m delighted to have signed this agreement to deepen our working relationship.

“We already work very closely together on a number of exciting projects and we now have the opportunity to explore additional areas and find solutions that will benefit our entire district.”

Lancaster University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andy Schofield, said: “As an anchor institution we are committed to playing our civic role to the full, working closely with the city council and other partners to create positive change for our communities, businesses and the environment both here in the Morecambe Bay area and the wider North West.

“The city council and the university share a long history of working together, built on great working relationships between our two organisations, and a shared commitment to creating a thriving and vibrant place.

“This agreement gives us the opportunity to be ambitious and strengthen the district for the benefit of everyone who lives, works and visits here.”