Reporter 444, 6 December 1999


Link back to Reporter article

 

The University of Leeds and the Community

 

 

The University of Leeds recognises its responsibilities to the local and wider community in which it finds itself, and works to maintain and develop the important role it plays in the life of the city and region - economically, socially and culturally. It wishes to be a good neighbour to the immediate community and to work with community groups and other agencies to promote the well-being of those communities.

In support of the policy set out above, this paper:

The University and the City

The University of Leeds is a popular choice for students in the UK, with over 26,000 students and around 6,000 staff. With the addition of the students from Leeds Metropolitan University and the Further Education colleges in the City, there are over 100,000 students in total.

A city without a university is a dull place. All universities play a big part in putting their host cities ‘on the map’, and cities in their turn can contribute to the appeal of their universities. In Leeds, the city and its oldest university, the University of Leeds, have reason to be proud of each other. Their combined attractions create a formidable whole, as witnessed by the fact that the University is once again at the top of the popularity tree: it has received more student applications through UCAS for September 1999 entry than any other UK university. This reflects not only the widespread recognition of what the University itself has to offer, but also the reputation of its host city as a lively and exciting place.

For many students, the attraction to the city continues after graduation, when many graduates choose to stay on to make their careers in Leeds, thereby enhancing the city’s already considerable pool of talent and professional expertise. Others who leave to work elsewhere in the UK and overseas may rise to positions from where they can influence decisions on such matters as inward investment. The University of Leeds has a world-class reputation, and is highly regarded by other universities, by the business and professional sectors, and by funding bodies around the country.

The implications and benefits of the University, both to the City and the community, are considered in section three of this paper.

Whilst the presence of a major further and higher education sector in Leeds benefits the city, it also places pressure on its facilities, and has a significant impact on local communities, particularly those adjacent to the extended University of Leeds/Leeds Metropolitan University campuses. It is important, but difficult, for a large and thriving university to strike a balance between the needs of its students and those of the local community. Despite all the benefits that all universities bring to their local communities, it is still the case that many residents are more influenced by the disturbance inflicted by the huge influx of students in their midst rather than the benefits.

As a result of increased activities and widening access a successful university might be expected to expand, and increasing student numbers therefore have to be catered for in terms of new or extended departmental buildings and student housing. Although the higher education institutions in the City provide a significant amount of residential accommodation, a large number of students, perhaps in excess of 20,000, have to seek accommodation within the private sector. The Headingley transport corridor, running from the two central University sites past a major concentration of student housing in Burley/Hyde Park/Headingley and the Beckett Park Campus of LMU to Bodington Hall, is probably one of the largest nationally in its concentration of journeys associated with higher education.

Section four of this paper outlines more detailed policies and procedures intended to maximise the positive aspects and to mitigate the negative impact on local communities.

The University and the community

The city’s two universities provide many benefits and opportunities to the community at large. In the case of the University of Leeds, an extensive contribution ranges across:

  1. Economic benefits

The annual contribution of the University of Leeds to the local economy is well over £500 million. University Capital and current expenditure by University staff, together with spending of income by both staff and students, helps to generate or maintain further employment in Leeds, for example,. In the retail sector and leisure industry. This increases the amount of disposable income available, and hence the level of consumer expenditure in the local area. On standard economic multipliers the economic activity of the University provides at least 10,000 jobs in the city

B. Employment issues

The University of Leeds is the city’s third largest employer with just under 6,000 staff on its payroll. There are significant opportunities for the local population within a wide range of jobs, including teaching, research and administration, as well as clerical, technical, and ancillary (mechanics, caterers, gardeners, cleaners, etc.) work. Vacancies are advertised in local community centres as well as regional newspapers. The University co-operates with schemes to provide employment opportunities for local people such as New Deal and PATH.

  1. Educational opportunities

In addition to its large portfolio of full-time programmes, the University has expanded its part-time provision, providing more flexible learning opportunities for local residents. Many Leeds residents also sign up to the short and part-time courses offered by the School of Continuing Education. There are now more than 200 courses offered by the School of Continuing Education, all of which carry credit which may be used towards a wide range of other qualifications, both at Leeds and elsewhere. The University has responded positively to the lifelong learning agenda by the introduction of new work-related programmes, and by encouraging developments within existing programmes to ensure their relevance to the world of work.

Widening participation is being encouraged by the development of foundation programmes and the introduction of new collaborative ventures with the FE Sector. For example, the University has successfully obtained European Social Funding to support a part-time degree programme aimed at single parents, carers and others living in Leeds whose personal circumstances prevent access to educational opportunities. The University offers a number of summer schools during the vacation, both to adults and school-pupils. These include the School of Philosophy Summer School, and the course offered by the School of Computer Studies to year 10 and 11 pupils from inner city schools in Leeds. The department has particularly tried to attract young people from traditionally under-represented groups on undergraduate Computer Science courses, and aims not only to introduce pupils to the internet but also to the opportunities which higher education can offer.

As student choices include an increasing preference for local Universities, school-leavers from the Leeds area who choose to remain in the City benefit from one of the widest range of higher education courses available in any location within the United Kingdom.

  1. Cultural opportunities
  2. The University offers the community many cultural opportunities and, in particular, has a regular public concert programme, holding both lunchtime and evening concerts, many of which often involve invited soloists and orchestras such as the Allegri String Quartet and the Sorrel String Quartet. Regular and innovative exhibitions, such as the recent one showing paintings of Gordale Scar by Katharine Holmes, and glazed ceramics by Sutton Taylor, are also shown at the University Art Gallery, which is open every weekday

    The University is host to a huge variety of special interest groups, such as the International Medieval Congress (attracting well over 1000 delegates from all over the world), and lectures that are open to the wider public are given regularly. The University libraries are custodians of important historical collections that enrich the cultural value of the city, for example, the Brotherton Collection of rare books and manuscripts, and the Liddle Collection of material from the First World War.

    Higher Education programmes at Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Leeds College of Music and Leeds College of Art and Design are validated by the University. These programmes together with the University’s own teaching and research make a significant contribution to the role of Leeds as a major national centre for Arts Education. In addition, the University has a close relationship with Bretton Hall, a College of the University, which offers many opportunities through the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and its other art collections.

  3. Research and Technology Transfer

The University of Leeds is a major international research university and the City benefits from the knowledge base and facilities associated with research activity.

The University has links with many major companies and is involved in schemes for transferring knowledge and technological expertise into small and medium enterprises. The Virtual Science Park (VSP) which enables companies throughout the globe to access the university's facilities, not only puts Leeds on the international map but also provides remote access to university expertise for companies and others in the region. A good example of this is the equality programme supported by the European Union which used the VSP system to provide disabled people within Leeds with access to a variety of facilities from their own homes.

The City also benefits from the educational research activities undertaken within the University. The School of Education's Computer Based Learning Unit has close involvement with local schools and community institutions. It has been closely involved with CHALCS and is currently supporting the Single Regeneration Budget (SRB) Round 3 'Switched On' project.

  1. Services to the community

The University’s knowledge resource base and availability of staff expertise contributes significantly to the City. The presence of the two teaching hospitals in the City provide access to leading edge advances in medicine, and evidence shows that this leads to a notably higher standard of medical provision. Dental provision is also significantly enhanced by the University’s Dental Institute, which provides advanced facilities to the City.

In addition to the medical and dental schools, the University also provides access to its sports facilities through the all-weather pitches at Lawnswood and through the University’s Sports Centre located on the main campus.

  1. City links

The University liaises regularly with the City Council, and other agencies, both in respect of day to day issues, such as noise nuisance, and more strategic issues such as Houses in Multiple Occupation and the Supertram. A list of University involvements with the City, relevant to community issues, is give at Appendix six.

The University is also a full partner in Business Link Leeds which seeks to benefit the local community by its support for business and SMEs, as well as being an active member of Leeds Initiative and many of its associated sub-groups, such as Leeds Environment City Initiative, Integrated Transport and the Lifelong Learning Partnership. Leeds University Business School is also a member of the Leeds Financial Services Initiative, and is a partner in the GE 6 S programme which provides training to SMEs in the Leeds area under Objective 4 funding.

  1. Community links

In order to support local communities and to facilitate good relations between the student and non-student communities, both the University and the Student Union work together to encourage and organise a variety of student activities within, and on behalf of, local communities.

The most extensive community project is the 'Schools, Business and the Community' Project funded by Round 2 of the government's SRB2. The project provides a comprehensive and targeted programme of activity in the East Bank area of the city to support local schools and community organisations and small and medium sized businesses. Details of current community orientated work is given in Appendix seven.

University staff and student representatives maintain contact with local community associations, through attendance at meetings and in an informal capacity. A list of current contacts is given at Appendix five. Recently the University’s City and Regional Office has written to all local groups indicating the University’s willingness to discuss any issues of mutual concern, and asking to be placed on distribution lists for minutes.

Staff from the University also play a significant role as members of the community, both in their own right and as representatives of the University. Membership of school governing bodies is a good example of both forms of staff engagement.

The University is ensuring that local communities and representatives are being kept informed of developments which may affect them, and most recently a full programme of briefings has taken place regarding the development of the Western Campus.

The wide variety of networks and connections includes:

Leeds University Student Community Action runs a wide range of projects as well as referring students to other organisations. All projects are co-ordinated by students and the volunteers have the opportunity to participate in an accreditation scheme, such as City and Guilds and the Duke of Edinburgh Award. Students are particularly active in the immediate neighbourhood, including involvement in:

Additionally, volunteers also undertake many one-off activities and support projects beyond the University's immediate neighbourhood. Many of SCA’s referral projects are also based within the area for example, Shire View, Cardigan Centre and Burley Lodge Centre

Many students also volunteer at community centres and charitable organisations through their own initiative and some projects, such as at Burley Lodge Centre and Cardigan Centre, are dependent on students for their running.

Leeds Student Charity Rag, a separate fund-raising activity supported by students, raised approximately £50,000 in 1997/98, a large percentage of which was given to local organisations. The Rag has also agreed to raise £5,000 specifically to support Yorkshire Cancer Research in session 1999/2000

In addition to the above activities, students are involved in the local community through Union societies such as Green Action, whose activities include a recycling scheme in Hyde Park, Burley and Woodhouse areas. There are many other areas in which students play a part, such as the Music Society, which runs a project in local schools to promote involvement in music, and work with the Guide and Scout movements, as well as St John’s Ambulance.

The City and Regional Office co-ordinates a comprehensive programme of activities under the umbrella title 'Campus Connect'. Recognising that one of the University's greatest resources is its students, all of these activities use student volunteers

Several Campus Trails have taken place this year with the following Leeds schools: All Saints Primary, Blenheim Primary, Little London Primary, Victoria Primary, Mount St Mary's High School and St Michael's College. A new Science Trail was piloted in March to celebrate SET (Science, Engineering and Technology) week. 90 Year 10 pupils attended demonstrations in the departments of Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Microbiology and Physics.

ACE events take place in school and involve students leading a series of informative games and activities to encourage pupils to think about Higher Education. In session 1998/99 there have been ACE events at St Michael's College, Mount St Mary's High School and Middleton Park High School.

The University is committed to working in partnership with other leading institutions in the City to enhance the opportunities available to local people. The Royal Armouries Outreach Project has brought together staff from the University's City and Regional Office and School of History, education staff from the Royal Armouries and a local teacher. Student volunteers, many from the School of History, will be trained in a variety of roles to take artefacts out into local schools and community venues and support work in the museum galleries and workshops.

 

Students living in the community

Both Universities, and Unipol, are continually placing student accommodation in areas of the city other than Burley, Hyde Park and Headingley. The University of Leeds has built flats at Clarence Dock in the East Bank area of Leeds, and Sentinel Towers near the city centre and Unipol has built on two sites in the city centre. However, students do have the choice of where to live, and are free to choose private sector accommodation in Headingley if this is available. The University is also currently investigating the possibility of private sector developments for student residences.

Complaints regarding property include noise, the state of repair and tidiness of the dwelling and the general issue of neighbourhood composition changing from family housing to houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). The University and Unipol respond to complaints about property in the role of landlord, but are unable to exercise control over landlords in the private sector. However, in an effort to reduce the number of instances where nuisance issues are reported, the following procedures are in place:

The University views any anti-social behaviour by its students with great seriousness, and, whilst expecting students to conduct themselves with consideration for their environment when off-campus, it must rely upon the students’ own sense of social responsibility. It should, however, be recognised that not all problems of the nature described above are caused by students, and this type of behaviour can be typical of young people in general. Where students can be identified as the cause of nuisance the University will write to remind those responsible of the standards expected by the University, but the University does not have, and would not seek, powers to discipline students for such behaviour except in the case of serious incidents. In reality, it is often difficult to identify those engaged in anti-social behaviour.

Where a criminal offence has taken place, the University will co-operate fully with the police in the investigation of any incident where student involvement is suspected.

Action

As set out above, the University is aware of the ongoing issues in the City and is trying to strengthen some of its activities. Current activities include:

 

Appendix 1

Local Environmental Projects

  1. Under the Workplace Co-operative Project in the School of Geography, final year students have conducted a number of projects on local environmental issues:

  1. Around 50 of the final year Environment students have carried out small-scale projects based on local issues as part of their final year dissertation, for example:

  1. As part of second year and third year modules, projects include:

Appendix 2

Mentoring and Student Tutoring

The City and Regional Office in partnership with Leeds Education Authority and Business in the Community is currently developing a programme to recruit University students (amongst others) to mentor inner city school pupils. Those students will build one-to-one relationships with their young mentees, the aim being to enlighten, enthuse and empower pupils who often lack positive role models in their immediate circle. The mentees, many from ethnic backgrounds, will benefit from the mentors’ experience and skills whilst feeling supported and encouraged in their self development. Mentoring schemes have demonstrated tangible benefits, including increased levels of attendance, achievement and aspiration.

The Student Tutoring Scheme places University of Leeds students in local schools. They act as classroom assistants in classes of all ages from 4-18. They attend schools for a minimum of 10 half-day sessions, and perform a variety of tasks, such as one-to-one support and literacy work. The aim of the scheme is to raise the achievement and aspirations of the pupils. This is achieved by allowing teachers more flexibility, by increasing the skills and knowledge base within the classroom, and by providing positive role models for the pupils. During the 1998/99 academic year 164 students applied for the scheme, and 112 are currently on placement, with a further 15 to be placed after Easter. A list of current placements is given below:

School

Total Number of Students

Types of Course

Agnes Stewart High

13

Joint Honours in Science

French

Sociology and Social Policy

Earth Sciences

Joint Honours in Languages

Mathematics

English

Microbiology

All Saints Primary

5

English

Sociology

Linguistics

Philosophy

Blenheim Primary

2

Psychology

Joint Honours in Languages

Brudenell Primary

2

Law

Psychology

Burley St Matthias

6

School of Biology

French

Psychology

Law

French Single Honours

Corpus Christi High

3

French

Joint Honours Languages

Mathematical Studies

Hillcrest Primary

2

OPTED – Optimise

Classics

Leeds College of Technology

5

Sociology and Social Policy

Chemical Engineering

Food Science

Chemistry

Civil Engineering

Little London Primary

5

English

Joint Honours in Science

Law

Geography

Spanish and Portugese

Mount St Mary’s High

13

French

Mathematics

Sociology and Social Policy

Philosophy

Geography

Theology and Religious

Studies

English

Biology

Computer Studies

Joint Honours in Science

History

Richard Oastler School

1

Human Biology

Roundhay High

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13

Theology

Sociology and Social Policy

French

English

Politics

Classics

Geography

Spanish

East Asian Studies

English Language and

Literature

Royal Park Primary

8

History

Classics

English

Biomedical Sciences

Education

Business School

Joint Honours in Science

Shakespeare Primary

1

Theology and Religious

Studies

St Michael’s College

12

Joint Honours in Science

Modern Languages

English

York University Graduate

Earth Sciences

Fine Art

Biochemistry

Law

Stanningley Primary

4

Geography

Sociology

History

Temple Moor High

1

Sports Science and

Physiology

Victoria Primary

9

Classics

Economics

Sociology and Social Policy

English

Biochemistry

Joint Honours in Science

Environment Centre

Computer Studies

Whingate Primary

3

Philosophy

English

Whitebridge Primary

4

Joint Honours in Science

Theology

Politics

Spanish and Portuguese

 

Appendix 3

Out of School and Community Activities and Projects for Academic Year 1998/99

During the academic year 1998/99, over 50 students have been involved in leading or supporting Out of School Activities in 12 Leeds schools and community venues such as the Leeds United Study Support Centre. Activities have included the creative and performing arts, science and technology, sport and study support. A list of projects is given below:

 

School or Community Organisation

Activity

Status of activity

Number of students placed

All Saints Primary School

Dance/ Drama club

Football

New student-led club

Assistance with existing club

2

1

APPLE Project

Spanish for Adults class

Club set up in 1997 by language student continuing with another student

1

Brudenell Primary School

Pottery club

Gymnastics club

Both set up Spring 1998. Same students continuing with the club.

2

2

Corpus Christi Primary

Art/ Puppetry club

Started last Spring and being continued by same student.

1

Little London Primary School

Netball club

Science club

Dance club

Radio club

Netball and Science started last year. Being continued by new students.

New club

New club

New club

2

1

1

1

Mount St. Mary’s Primary School

Netball club

New club

1

Victoria Primary School

Choir

A student is assisting the choir in preparation for a singing competition.

1

City of Leeds High School

IT club

New club

5

Lawnswood High School

Rugby Union

Assistance with existing practices

1

Merlyn Rees Community School

Outdoor Pursuits club

New club being set up by Sports Science students

3

St. Michael’s College

Soccer club

Drama support

Music and Computer club

IT club

Rugby League

Student assistance

Students will work with pupils as they prepare to premiere a new play

New club

New club

Assistance with existing activity

1

2

1

7

1

Leeds United Study Support Centre

Student Mentoring

New centre

12

Temple Moor High School

Girls Football

New club

2

Richmond Hill Community Centre

Arts and Music Project

New activity

4

 

Appendix 4

Student projects set up since September 1998

Students undertake a range of short projects in community organisations and small businesses through the City and Regional Initiative on Student Projects (CRISP). Since September 1998 sixteen projects have been set up - eight in companies and eight in community organisations or schools.

1. Company Projects

Company

Sector/type

Project

Student course

Start

Clipability

Chapel Allerton Centre

108 Harrogate Road

LS7 4NY

Press Cuttings

service

Marketing - project to be defined

 

11 Jan 1999

Athi Newsagents

42 Saxton Gardens

Leeds LS9

[EAST BANK]

Retail

Conduct relocation feasibility study - look at buying habits of Eastbank residents

Media/Psychology TASC

Management/Psychology

TASC

Two students

11 Jan 1999

G. T. Security

18 Shannon Street

Leeds LS9 8SS

[EAST BANK]

Security firm

Make 2 videos - one for internal use, the other for external

Media/Cultural & Communication Studies

TASC

Media/Psychology TASC

Four students

11 Jan 1999

Great Clothes Ltd

4 Berking Avenue

Leeds LS9 9LF

[EAST BANK]

Clothing Retail

Marketing related

Management/Spanish TASC

11 Jan 1999

Pythia Software

9 Ash Crescent

Leeds LS6 3LE

Software

Website development

Computer Science with Management Studies

Oct 98

Brandon Medical Co Ltd

Leathley Road

Leeds LS10 1BG

 

Medical Equipment

Analyse responses to previous advertising campaign and use the results to devise a new campaign for a 12-month action plan

Media/Management

TASC

11 Jan 1999

Howarth Timber Ltd

East Street

Leeds LS9 8DA

[EAST BANK]

Timber Manufacturer

Marketing initiative for door sales

 

Management/French

TASC Management/Psychology

TASC

Two students

11 Jan 1999

2. Community Projects

Organisation

Project

Student course

Start date

D3 Safer Dancing Project

c/o Health Education

East Leeds Family

Learning Centre

Brooklands View

Leeds LS14 6SA

Produce Promotional video

Institute of Communications Studies

Two students

Oct 98

The Ridings Association

205 Roundhay Road

Leeds LS8 4HS

[EAST BANK]

Photography Project

Two students

11 Jan 1999

Rosebank Millennium

Green Trust

c/o Dept of Community Benefits and Rights

2nd Floor

Civic Hall Annexe

Leeds LS1 1UR

Produce a promotional leaflet for use by members, local people and potential sponsors

Mres Built Environment, Civil Engineering

Geography

Two students

11 Jan 1999

Little London Primary School

Produce 2 videos, 'A day in the life of the school' and 'Re-building the school'

Institute of Communication Studies

Eight students

March 1999

Leeds United / Leeds Education Authority

Produce a video on skills involving interviews with club

Institute of Communication Studies

April 1999

St Michael's College

Produce a video, 'A day in the life of the school'

Institute of Communication Studies

Three students

Feb 1999

Mount St Mary's Trust

Take photos of the church then produce a photographic exhibition for the fundraising launch

Institute of Communication Studies

Five students

March 1999

Pavilion

2 Woodhouse Square

Leeds LS3 1AD

Survey participants’ reaction to introduction of Webcams on Website

Media/History

TASC

Two students

11 Jan 1999

Appendix 5

Community Organisations

Organisations with which the City and Regional Office are currently in contact or with whom they are forging links:

Care and Repair

South Headingley Community Assoc.

Leeds Racial Harassment Project

Neighbourhood Watch - Manor Avenue

Rochester Terrace Neighbourhood Watch

Community Benefits & Rights

South Headingley Community Association

Detached Youth Project

Youth Officer, West Yorks Police

Youth Justice

H P Source

Brudenell Neighbourhood Watch

Beat Manager West Yorkshire Police

Leeds Metropolitan University Union

Environmental Health

Burley & Hyde Park Community Safety Project

Little Woodhouse Community Association

Headingley/Burley Credit Union

C. P. O. - W. Yorks Police

Resourcing the Community

Leeds Muslin Council

Business in the Community

Cardigan Centre

Hyde Park Unity Day

Burley Lodge Centre

Headingley Network Community Association

Inspector, W.Yorks.Police

 

Appendix 6

University Involvement in the City

Community Safety Partnership

Health Action Zone

South Leeds Education Action Zone

Single Regeneration Budget -all five rounds

The Chapletown and Harehills URBAN project

Leeds Adult Guidance Network

Leeds Careers Guidance Company

Adult Learners Week

Millennium Square

Hyde Park Unity Day

Rosebank Millennium Green Project

Switched On Project

Leeds United Study Support Centre

Burley and Hyde Park Community Safety Project

Burley Network

Leeds Mentoring Services

Business Link Leeds

Leeds TEC

Appendix 7

University involvement with the East Bank Community

This year, the City and Regional Office has worked with the following organisations in the East Bank:

Schools

School

Activity

All Saints Primary

  • Campus Trail
  • Student Tutoring
  • Dance/ drama and Football club
  • Video of 'Jaberwocky'
  • Bookbag scheme
  • Music workshop

Ebor Gardens Primary

  • Spanish class for adults

Mount St Mary's Primary

  • Student Tutoring
  • Netball club
  • Music workshop

Richmond Hill Primary

  • Bookbag scheme
  • Video on the literacy hour
  • Music workshop

Mount St Mary's High School

  • Student Tutoring
  • Royal Armories Outreach Project
  • Campus Trail
  • ACE event
  • Computer Studies Easter School
  • East Street Arts workshop
  • Science Trail

Community Organisations

Community Organisation

Activity

Richmond Hill Community Centre

  • 12 young people taken to Dalehead Mountain Hut in Lake District - supported by staff and students from Sports Science and Outdoor Pursuits
  • 4 Fine Art students involved in RAM (Richmond Hill Arts and Music) Project
  • Clarence Dock student intending to support youth club

Richmond Hill Elderly Aid

  • Clarence Dock students donated £200.00 towards Elderly Aid decorating scheme

Various East-Bank sub-groups

  • Nash Patel and Rani Hossain have represented Clarence Dock students at local meetings

Link back to Reporter article

HTML by Karen Cooper