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Building good relations with our neighbours

19 Nov 2018

The University and its construction partners give back to local community

LINK Good Neighbours event

Local initiatives ranging from a neighbourhood summer fete to bat box building for local children and a scheme tackling social isolation have benefitted from this year’s University of Manchester Community Construction Fund.

The University and its main construction partners – Balfour Beatty, Laing O’Rourke and Sir Robert McAlpine – established the £20,000 annual fund to support neighbourhood initiatives in areas closest to the University’s construction sites around Oxford Road and near Owens Park, Wilmslow Road. 

One of the largest estates investments ever seen in UK higher education, the Campus Masterplan is supporting the University’s ambitions to become one of the top 25 global universities. The scheme involves creating spaces for world-leading research, an outstanding student and learning experience and ensuring social responsibility is at the heart of everything the University does.

The annual Community Construction Fund is open to established non-profit groups, voluntary groups and other community groups, as well as groups of residents and community members working together. This year’s beneficiaries included:

  • The Brunswick Summer Fete, which saw 200 local residents come together at an independent living scheme to enjoy a barbeque and find out about the range of community organisations operating in the Ardwick area.
  • Funding for LINK Good Neighbours, a local charity run by volunteers, who used the funding to run arts activities and luncheon clubs for more than 50 older people and adults with health problems or disabilities in Rusholme and Fallowfield, combating isolation.
  • Creating Habitats, who received funds to run a bird and bat box building workshop with local children in Ladybarn Park.

A new fund for 2018/19 has launched and groups located close to the University campus can apply for grants of up to £500 or between £500 and £2,000 for projects and initiatives with clear evidence of potential community benefits.

Diana Hampson, Director of Estates, said: “We are currently undergoing a major ten-year transformation of our campus. The Campus Masterplan is creating the environment our world-leading researchers and students have told us they need now and for the future. This involves upgrading existing buildings and creating new ones.

“Creating benefit for local communities has been a key priority for the University. This has been done through creating jobs and apprenticeships, but also investment in local communities to address the issues that matter most to them. Creating a joint fund between the University and our construction partners has strengthened our links with some of our nearest neighbours and improved social and environmental wellbeing through the funding of 21 innovative projects in 2017/18.”