By Kawser Abdulahi
In 2012, Cardiff University’s development and leadership programme, Cardiff Future, brought together eight research and senior professional staff from a range of backgrounds. This led to the emergence of a common interest, to develop a long-term meaningful relationship between the university and local communities.
Cardiff University’s Community Gateway project was the outcome of this University-wide collaboration. A pilot was set up in the Grangetown area of Cardiff, one of the most culturally diverse and largest electoral districts. From a public consultation, in 2015, nine main themes were identified: Shop & Work Locally, Safe Grangetown, Road Respect, Healthy Grangetown, Friendly Communities, Provision for Young People, Communication Without Barriers, Community Meeting Places and Clean Streets, and Green Spaces.
Recently, the Gateway project was the recipient of an international award. ‘Professor Sir David Watson Award for Community-University Partnerships’ was launched this year in memory of the late Professor Sir David Watson, former Vice-Chancellor of Brighton University. The award recognises the combined efforts of university partners and communities towards making a difference in the lives of people within the community with entries received from across the UK and abroad, including entries from Canada and Pakistan.
In the year since the projects launch, the platform has led to 44 community-university collaboration projects including the award-winning Grangetown Youth Forum. The Cardiff Gateway project along with community partners, Grangetown Community Action and the Grange Pavilion project, aims to build a long-term partnership with Grangetown residents.
With plans to secure the Grange Bowls Pavilion to act as a physical hub for pop-up events and community projects, the project aims to bring Cardiff University to the community. The university also aims to expand the model to other communities in Cardiff and Wales to produce benefits for the community as well as enriching teaching and research.