13 December 2021

London Higher, the organisation which represents higher education in the capital, is calling on the UK government to recognise the vital role universities are playing in the Covid-19 recovery.

London Higher has created the interactive The London Higher Civic Map, which contains over 150 examples of university-led civic activity across six core areas of: health, education, business, creative, community cohesion and the environment.

Initiatives from the University of East London are featured and represent the span of the institution's contribution to the Covid recovery drive.

This includes the University's initial response to the pandemic, offering support to the NHS Nightingale Hospital set up at ExCeL London, neighbouring UEL's Docklands Campus. Nursing, physiotherapy and technician teams also provided professional support and staff and students volunteering with non-clinical support.

UEL's contributions also included the free Tax and Accountancy Clinic which helped small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) plan for the future and minimise risk during the harsh financial times of the lockdown.

In the field of sustainability, the Advancing Resource Efficiency and Urban Ecology Innovations (ARENA) project continues to support London start-ups and SMEs develop and commercialise their innovative ideas around green urban infrastructure and energy efficiency.

Meanwhile, community research project Brickfield Newham, carried out with the V&A Museum, brought communities together to discover, literally, the earth beneath their feet while exploring themes around home.

Professor Amanda Broderick, vice chancellor and president of the University of East London, said, "At the heart of our 10-year strategy, Vision 2028, is a commitment to make a positive and lasting impact on our community, here in Newham. The Covid-19 pandemic proved a catalyst for a number of significant civic-minded projects, and we are driven to maintain that momentum into the post-pandemic era."

Professor Broderick, who is also Chair of London Higher, added, "London's higher education institutions are proud of their place in their community and the role we play in local life.

"London Higher is committed to showing national policymakers that London's universities and colleges are civic too, and that our local communities are at the heart of everything that we do. This mapping project highlights the impact of members on their local communities, whether or not they have attended a London institution."

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