Blog: Exploring civic mission work in Welsh universities

Hi, I’m Rosie and I have recently started at Universities Wales as the new Project Officer in Civic Mission. I started my first few weeks meeting with civic mission leads in our institutions and exploring the breadth and depth of civic activity that is already happening in our local communities. Since the coronavirus crisis began, I have been particularly struck by the impact civic mission work is having at this time.  

For example, Cardiff Metropolitan University have established a Blood Centre at their Llandaff campus in partnership with the Welsh Blood Service. The University of South Wales is training nurses and hundreds of non-critical care staff who are working in critical care over the next couple of weeks. Also, Wrexham Glyndwr University has created a free online module called ‘The Confident Learner’ to help students prepare for life at University after missing their last term in school or college. These are just a couple of examples of the great work our universities are doing to support frontline services and local communities during this uncertain time. I will be writing another blog shortly which will go into more detail and display more case studies around this work.  

A key part of my role is to create a network and framework for civic mission activity in Wales. The network will bring together universities central points of contact, allow them to share good practice and expertise, facilitate collaborative opportunities, and raise the profile of civic mission activity across Wales and the UK. The framework will give universities a way to identify, recognise and develop a strategic approach to their civic mission activity. 

Already in my fourth week in the role I have discovered an abundance of inspiring civic mission projects and intriguing new plans to develop and grow a co-created strategyCivic mission can come in many forms and one of the projects I have observed is the Modern Foreign Languages Mentoring programme run by Cardiff University. I met the team behind the project and their passion for the mission was clear to see. I feel that this belief and commitment to the mission is what has led to the project’s huge success and, ultimately, its positive influence on our society.  

Coming from a sporting background, I have a special interest in the impact of sport and physical activity on the community. Having experienced the positive influence of sport in developing skills like teamwork, leadership, confidence and resilience, I have been able to transfer these skills into all areas of my life. Cardiff Metropolitan University has run a swimming project in partnership with a refugee and asylum seeker centre in South East Cardiff which has enabled a number of asylum seekers to grow in confidence and improve their swimming ability. This is just one project that I have followed and know there are many more projects running like this that we can share and re-create across the country.  

I look forward to speaking with more key colleagues from all the institutions over the next few weeks and discovering more of the amazing civic mission projects taking place across Wales.