The University of Bath and Bath & North East Somerset Council are collaborating on a new initiative, “Our Shared Future”, in a bid to bring people together to solve local issues.
Launched on Monday 13th January, the initiative will bring together skills, knowledge and expertise from across the city in order to explore possibilities and address some of the challenges faced in Bath and the region.
The launch began with a series of workshops, attended by academics from a range of disciplines along with colleagues from B&NES and local organisations, exploring the themes of cohesion and inclusivity, infrastructure and climate change in Bath.
To enable a wider range of voices to be heard, initial findings from the workshops were shared at an evening reception where discussions were chaired by local journalist Richard Wyatt.
The chairs of the respective working groups described the progress their initial discussions had made, and plans for next steps, including the desire to create a decarbonisation task force, explore new ways to utilise the 8,000 vaults under the city, and how to establish partnerships between “anchor” institutions in the city including the universities, NHS, voluntary sector and council.
Professor Ian White, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Bath, said: “I’m delighted that we are in a position to launch this project at the start of the New Year.
“As a new Vice-Chancellor working with a new Chief Executive at B&NES, this is an opportune time to review the contribution that the University can make to the future of our home city.
“Working in partnership with the Council, businesses and local residents will provide an opportunity to achieve real impact.”
Councillor Dine Romero, council Leader, added: “The large turnout at the Our Shared Future event is testament to how people in Bath are passionate about working together to make the city an even better place to live and work.
“There were some excellent discussions around tackling the climate emergency, our local economy and infrastructure and I hope the range of expertise and perspectives in the room, including both our universities, will enable us to find some innovative solutions to the challenges we face.”
The University also announced its plan to develop a Civic University Agreement.
In signing up to such agreements, universities commit to prioritising the economy and quality of life in their home towns or cities, working alongside partners including schools, colleges, local authorities, charities, the NHS, civil society and businesses.
Professor White added: “A Civic University Agreement, a pledge of our commitment to the local economy and community, will be a fitting way to formalise our contribution to Bath and the region, and demonstrate how proud we are to be part of this unique city.”