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					Board of Trustees – Paper 2
22nd June 2009




           Community Engagement Strategy
                              July 2009
    Community Engagement Strategy
    July 2009

    Contents


    Chapter                                                                  Page


    1.0     Introduction and Background                                      3
    2.0     Summary of Community Strategy                                    4
    3.0     Students as Responsible Neighbours                               5
    4.0     Students Active in the Community                                 8
    5.0     Student Community Representation and Democratic Engagement       11
    6.0     Student Safety in the Community                                  12
    7.0     Student Contribution to the local economy                        13




Approval Mechanism
To be approved by the Board of Trustees

Manager responsible for implementation:    Director of Membership Services
Trustee responsible for implementation:    Union President

Date of implementation: from July 2009


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Community Engagement Strategy
July 2009

  1.0         Introduction and Background

        1.1       Kent Union’s Values Statement outlines our commitment to “promoting
                  volunteering and supporting the local community”.

        1.2       Further to this, the University of Kent’s Widening Participation Strategy lists
                  “Student engagement and investment in the wider community” as a key focus.
                  Clearly Kent Union’s activities are fundamental to success in this aim.

        1.3       The issue of the impact of students on the local community is an important and
                  recurrent one. In 2006, Canterbury City Council produced the “Student Impact
                  Scrutiny Review”, which considered the issue. It highlighted both the positive
                  contribution of students to the local community, particularly in terms of economic
                  impact and student volunteering, as well as highlighting area of negative perception,
                  such as refuse and anti-social behaviour.

        1.4       It is clear that part of our role as a representative body is to improve and uphold the
                  reputation of University of Kent students in the local community. Further to this, we
                  believe that improving community relations and providing avenues for students to
                  engage with the community will lead to an improved University experience for our
                  members, and will have a lasting positive impact on the community itself.

        1.5       This strategy seeks to outline the current initiatives and activities undertaken by
                  Kent Union in terms of community engagement and to outline objectives for the
                  organisation to develop in this area.

        1.6       The Strategy is divided into five Key Themes. These are:

                  1.6.1   Students as Responsible Neighbours
                  1.6.2   Students Active in the Community
                  1.6.3   Student Community Representation and Democratic Engagement
                  1.6.4   Student Safety in the Community
                  1.6.5   Student Contribution to the Local Economy




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July 2009

  2.0    Summary of Community Strategy



                                                                   Our Vision
                     Our vision is to be an exceptional organisation that is amongst the best providers of student services in the UK




                                                       Our Community Values

                                              We promote volunteering and support the local community




                                                     The Community Strategy
                                                                      Community
            Students as Responsible    Students Active in the                                 Student Safety in the    Students Contribution to
                                                                   Representation and
                 Neighbours                Community                                              Community              the local community
                                                                 Democractic Engagement



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Community Engagement Strategy
July 2009

  3.0       Students as Responsible Neighbours
        3.1      Student Engagement with Community Groups

               3.1.1   Canterbury has one of the highest concentrations of students of any city in
                       the country. It is generally accepted that a large amount of students in an
                       area carries with it both negative and positive implications and, perhaps just
                       as importantly, negative perceptions. Recent coverage of ‘the student issue’
                       in the local press underlines that the general image of students is a negative
                       one, in the main exacerbated by low-level antisocial behaviour. Another
                       general area of concern is that the transient nature of students affects the
                       dynamic of communities, and students, by their nature, are less concerned
                       with the aesthetics and cohesion of a community than ‘permanent’
                       residents.

               3.1.2   At the heart of any mistrust or antagonism between students and local
                       residents is the lack of a regular, constructive dialogue. It is essential that
                       we develop, support and maintain such communication channels, to ensure
                       that residents feel that their concerns are listened to and that we can tackle
                       any emergent issues. In order to achieve this, Kent Union will commit to
                       ensuring student representation at all existing and future residents
                       associations in areas where students reside.



               3.1.3 Action Plan
                   Target                                Date             Responsibility
                   To set up Hales Place Residents       September        VP Welfare and
                   Watch Group in conjunction with       2009             Representation and
                   PCSO                                                   Democracy Manager
                   Set up Neighbourhood                  September        Volunteering Projects
                   Representative Scheme                 2009             Coordinator and VP
                                                                          Welfare
                  To identify and achieve full           September        Sabbatical Officers,
                  attendance at all relevant resident    2010             supported by Volunteering
                  associations (St Mildred’s Area                         Projects Coordinator
                  Community Society, Hales Place
                  Resident Association, Spring Lane
                  and Barton Residents Association
                  and St Dunstans’ Residents
                  Association)
                  Identify and attend appropriate        September        Outreach Worker
                  neighbourhood/community groups         2010
                  in vicinity of outlying campuses
                  Continue to run annual St              Ongoing          Volunteering Projects
                  Stephen’s Welcome Event to                              Coordinator and VP
                  promote good neighbourliness in                         Welfare
                  conjunction with Canterbury City
                  Council


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Community Engagement Strategy
July 2009



      3.2    Students as tenants/on campus:

             3.2.1    Over 4000 students live on the Canterbury Campus and this number is due
                      to rise further with the development of new student accommodation. Kent
                      Union should play a role in ensuring that this large community is
                      considerate, cohesive and constructive. It is also recognised that, as many
                      students spend their first year living away from home on campus, it is
                      possible that negative patterns of behaviour are formed that may be
                      continued when students move on to housing in the local community. Kent
                      Union will continue to make positive steps to encourage a spirit of good
                      neighbourliness on campus.

             3.2.2    A large amount of students live in rented accommodation in the local
                      community. The majority of letting agents and private landlords are
                      reputable, particularly following the implementation of the City Council’s
                      Accreditation scheme, but Kent Union recognises that students are at risk of
                      being exploited by opportunistic landlords and will continue to take steps to
                      protect them. This will be achieved through the provision of advice and
                      close partnership working with the University’s accommodation office and
                      the City Council.

             3.2.3    Action Plan
             Target                                   Date          Responsibility
             Run campaign to increase recycling on    Annual,       VP Welfare, Marketing Officer
             campus                                   from          and Representation
                                                      September     Coordinator, Environment and
                                                      2009          Ethics Committee, Environment
                                                                    and Ethics Officer, Environment
                                                                    and Ethics Coordinator
             Run sessions for new students to         September     VP Welfare, Representation
             highlight neighbourly living in halls.   2009          Coordinator, Union President,
                                                                    Student Committee Presidents
             Develop housing advice programme         September     VP Welfare, Advice Service
             to include publication, events and       2010          Manager
             training sessions in conjunction with
             Advice Centre, Kent Hospitality and
             CCC
             Work with City Council to continue to    Ongoing       VP Welfare, Advice Services
             develop and promote Housing                            Manager
             Accreditation Scheme




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Community Engagement Strategy
July 2009

      3.3    Community Contribution

             3.3.1   As well as minimising the potentially negative impact that students may
                     have on the local community, it is important that Kent Union highlights and
                     develops the positive engagement of students with the local community.
                     Working with the City Council and other local students’ unions, a
                     Community Charter should be developed which will outline how each
                     organisation will strive to improve engagement between local residents, the
                     council and students’ unions.

             3.3.2   Student Volunteering is a fundamental part of student community
                     engagement and this should be promoted and developed. In particular,
                     Kent Union will make specific funding available for projects that will improve
                     the local environment, by deploying student volunteers in community
                     building projects or environmental cleanups (such as graffiti cleaning or
                     pond clearing).

             3.3.3   In 2008 Canterbury Christ Church University Students’ Union developed the
                     “I ♥ Canterbury” brand which encouraged students to take pride in the city
                     and promoted the positive impact of students to the local community. Kent
                     Union will work will Christ Church Union and others to develop this brand
                     and run a concurrent campaign.

             3.3.4   Action Plan
                                                     Date           Responsibility
             Target
             Develop I ‘♥’ Canterbury brand in       September      VP Welfare and Representation
             conjunction with CCSU and UCCA          2009           and Democracy Manager

             Make funding available for              September      Student Activities Manager
             neighbourhood ‘Build Clear or Clean’    2010
             project to improve environment and
             promote community cohesion.
             Develop community charter in            September      VP Welfare, Director of
             conjunction with other students         2010           Membership Services
             unions and City Council



      3.4    Night-time Impact

             3.4.1   Kent Union recognises that the operation of some of its services, and in
                     particular the nightclub, is related to some specific concerns and problems
                     faced by local residents, particularly in terms of noise. Kent Union takes its
                     responsibility in minimising this impact seriously and invests around £10,000
                     each year on initiatives such as ‘noise-patrols’, on and off campus. This will
                     be continued and expanded where necessary.

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Community Engagement Strategy
July 2009


                  3.4.2   Kent Union runs a ‘Security Review Panel’ which brings together students,
                          University staff and representatives from the police and city council to
                          discuss the management of security at the Venue. The remit of this group
                          will be expanded to include the management of the community impact of
                          the nightclub, and it will report regularly on improvements in this area. It
                          will also be responsible for steering the development of an annual open
                          event for members of the local community, which will bring residents in to
                          the Venue to view the facilities, meet staff and discuss any concerns that
                          they have.

                  3.4.3   Action Plan
                 Target                                   Date           Responsibility
                 Rename Security Review Panel to          From           Director of Commercial Services
                 ‘Evening Impact Group’ and provide       September
                 annual reports to Community              2009
                 Organisations and quarterly press
                 releases
                 Launch Annual ‘Community Forum           September      Director of Commercial Services
                 and Open Day’ at the Venue               2009           and Venue and Entertainments
                                                                         Manager
                 Continue and expand Security Patrol      Ongoing        Venue and Entertainments
                 operation and report annually on                        Manager
                 activity to Board of Trustees



  4.0         Students Active in the Community

        4.1       Community Volunteering Opportunities
                  4.1.1 Kent Union has run a Volunteering Unit for more than a decade, providing
                        students the opportunity to develop volunteering projects and to take up
                        voluntary roles in community organisations. The impact of this has been
                        enormous – in 2007/08 870 students registered for our volunteering
                        accreditation scheme and logged a total of 31,865 volunteering hours,
                        equating to £151,137 worth of work contributed to the local community and
                        campus life. Kent Union will continue and develop its work in this area,
                        increasing the amount of external volunteering placements available to
                        students year on year.

                  4.1.2   Kent Union will also improve its communication in this area, ensuring that
                          the positive impact of students volunteering in the community becomes
                          fully recognised by the press, council and residents, by publishing a regular
                          community impact briefing.




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Community Engagement Strategy
July 2009

             4.1.3   Action Plan
                       Target                         Date           Responsibility
                       Double the amount of           Ongoing        Student Activities Manager,
                       community volunteering                        Volunteering Coordinator
                       placements to 120 by 2012
                       and increase the total
                       number of students
                       undertaking community
                       volunteering to 500
                       Double the annual amount       Ongoing        Student Activities Manager,
                       of community Volunteering                     Volunteering Project
                       Events to 20 by 2012                          Coordinator
                       Continue to run                Ongoing        Student Activities Manager,
                       ‘Community Day’ at                            Volunteering Projects
                       Welcome Fayre, doubling                       Coordinator, Volunteering
                       the amount of stalls to 30                    Coordinator
                       by 2012
                       Provide specific funding       From           Student Activities Manager,
                       avenues to Campaigning         September      Volunteering Projects
                       and Community Societies        2009           Coordinator
                       Develop Community Action       From           Student Activities Manager,
                       Webpage and issue              January        Volunteering Projects
                       monthly ‘Community             2010           Coordinator and Marketing
                       Action’ press releases                        Officer
                       Develop Community Action       March          Outreach Worker
                       Scheme, including              2011
                       webpage and 25 students
                       volunteering in community
                       placements for students at
                       outlying sites


      4.2    CSR Activities

             4.2.1   Kent Union is proud of, in partnership with Christ Church Students’ Union
                     and the parent institutions, the launch and development of the first student-
                     run community radio station in the country. Launched in 2007, the station
                     exists to provide first-rate media opportunities to our members, but also has
                     a strong remit to engage the local community. In particular the project aims
                     to promote interaction between students and school children, giving young
                     people in the area the opportunity to engage with the higher education
                     environment.

             4.2.2   The Community Engagement aspect of the station will continue to develop,
                     ensuring that members of the local community have the opportunity to
                     contribute to the station, and bringing in school children to ‘run’ the station
                     during the summer months.



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Community Engagement Strategy
July 2009

             4.2.3    Action Plan
             Target                                   Date          Responsibility
             Run Summer school with involvement       August        Student Media Manager,
             from 25 students from local schools      2009          Community and Events
                                                                    Coordinator
             Provide weekly on-air update on          September     Student Media Manager,
             community events                         2009          Community and Events
                                                                    Coordinator
             Provide 10 hours of radio                January       Student Media Manager,
             programming for Residents                2010          Community and Events
             Associations                                           Coordinator
             Hold bi-annual Community Listener        January       Student Media Manager,
             Forums                                   2010          Community and Events
                                                                    Coordinator
             Achieve 120 community members of         September     Student Media Manager,
             the station                              2011          Community and Events
                                                                    Coordinator
      4.3    Cultural Development

             4.3.1    Kent Union acts as a hub for cultural interchange and leisure activities on
                      campus, operating more than 100 societies and 40 sports teams. The range
                      of activities available to students is vast, and includes Latin American
                      Dancing, Cheerleading and Philosophy. The range of skills, cultures and
                      activities that are available to Kent students should be made available to
                      members of the local community where possible. For too long students and
                      the University and its students have been seen as distant or even aloof, and
                      positive steps should be taken to take our activities to the community or
                      bring local residents on to campus.

             4.3.2    Action Plan

        Target                                    Date          Responsibility
        Develop Community Sports Coaching         January       Student Activities Manager, VP
        Scheme                                    2010          Sports
        10 Sports and Societies to run regular    March         Student Activities Manager, VP
        community sessions                        2010          Student Activities
        Run Cultural diversity event in           September     Student Activities Manager, VP
        Canterbury in conjunction with City       2010          Student Activities, Community and
        Council , Student Societies and the                     Events Coordinator, Volunteering
        University                                              Projects Coordinator
        Develop Nursery Drama Workshop            September     Nursery Manager, Community and
        Programme to include Community            2010          Events Coordinator, Volunteering
        Nurseries                                               Projects Coordinator
        Develop scheme to improve cultural        September     Outreach Worker
        engagement in the community from          2010
        students at Outreach sites


      4.4    Fundraising

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Community Engagement Strategy
July 2009

                  4.4.1   Kent Union’s RAG (Raise and Give) operation gives students the opportunity
                          to raise money for charity through the running of a broad range of events
                          and activities. It has enjoyed exceptional success recently, raising in the
                          region of £25,000 during this academic year.

                  4.4.2   RAG has a policy of donating raised money to both local and national
                          charities. Kent Union should set a target to increase the amount donated to
                          local charities and provide appropriate support to student volunteers in
                          order to achieve.

                  4.4.3   Kent Union should also continue to provide local charities with the
                          opportunities to attend our annual ‘Welcome Fayre’ and increase the
                          number of charities who attend.

                  4.4.4   Action Plan
                 Target                                       Date        Responsibility
                 Increase funding raising for local           August      Student Activities Manager, VP
                 charities year on year, achieving            2012        Activities, RAG Committee
                 £25,000
                 Increase the amount of local charities       Ongoing     Student Activities Manager,
                 at Community Volunteering Fayre                          Volunteering Coordinator
                 each year


  5.0         Student Community Representation and Democratic Engagement

        5.1       Kent Union should play a role in ensuring that students and student offices engage
                  with local and national politics, and ensure that students’ voices are heard. This can
                  be achieved by increasing student turnout in local, European and national elections,
                  by ensuring a constructive and ongoing relationship is maintained with relevant
                  politicians and through regular dialogue with the local council.

        5.2       These activities should not be limited to the Canterbury Campus, and initiatives
                  should be developed to increase political engagement of students at outlying sites of
                  the University.

        5.3       Action Plan
               Target                                        Date        Responsibility
               Run campaign to encourage voter               From        Representation and Democracy
               registration, including outlying sites        September   Manager, Union President,
                                                             2009        Outreach Worker
               Induction for new Trustees to include         August      Director of Membership
               an opportunity to meet with key               2009        Services
               stakeholders from the local council
               Hold regular meetings between                 July 2010   Outreach Worker
               students and local politicians at
               outlying sites

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Community Engagement Strategy
July 2009

               Facilitate quarterly meetings between     Ongoing        Representation and Democracy
               students and politicians                                 Manager, Union President




  6.0         Student Safety in the Community

        6.1       Students are often a target for criminals; night-time activities leave them vulnerable
                  to attacks and student houses are often prime targets for burglars. Kent Union,
                  through the provision of training, services and campaigns will continue to educate
                  students about the risks and mitigate them.

        6.2       Kent Union will campaign for the improvement and development of safety
                  initiatives, both on and off campus. In particular, the role of the Nightbus should be
                  promoted and developed and Kent Union should lobby for improvements to campus
                  lighting, road crossing and bus stops.

        6.3       Kent Union will continue to educate students on safety issues, promoting the
                  availability of the local PCSO, running session for students to security mark their
                  belongings, and roll these services out to outlying sites of the University.

        6.4       Action Plan
               Target                                    Date           Responsibility
               Run campaign to improve and secure        September      Representation Coordinator, VP
               future for Night bus Service              2009           Welfare
               Promote PCSO surgery with year-on-        From           VP Welfare, Student Activities
               year increases in attendance              September      Manager
                                                         2009
               Run Campaign for improvement to           September      VP Welfare, Representation
               Campus lighting, cycle routes, road       2009           Coordinator
               crossings and bus stops.
               Run security marking sessions for         January        VP Welfare, Student Activities
               students’ property                        2010           Manager
               Continue and expand Security Patrol       Ongoing        Venue and Entertainments
               operation and report annually on                         Manager
               activity to Board of Trustees
               Develop relationships with PCSOs and      January        Outreach Worker
               deliver student safety sessions for       2010
               students at outlying sites


  7.0         Student Contribution to the Local Economy

        7.1       Kent students, through working in local business, bring an enormous amount to the
                  local community, helping the operation of the service and tourism industries, and
                  bringing a wide range of skills to organisations that employ them. Kent Union

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Community Engagement Strategy
July 2009

              should continue to increase the amount of local businesses advertising through its
              Jobshop to ensure that this develops.

      7.2     An increasing amount of students are finding part-time work to help fund them
              through their studies. Many of these students, in turn, do not have the time to
              volunteer or undertake other activities provided by the Union. A scheme should be
              developed to ensure that these students get recognised for the skills that they
              develop and the contribution that they make to the local community.

      7.3     Links should be developed and maintained with the local council’s Local Economy
              team and local business groups to promote and develop avenues for students to
              contribute to local business.

      7.4     Action Plan
            Target                                  Date          Responsibility
            Hold Bi-Annual Meetings with            From          Director of Membership
            ‘Canterbury for Business’ and City      September     Services, Jobshop Manager
            Council Local Economy Team to           2009
            discuss Student Impact on local
            economy
            Launch scheme to highlight key skills   September     Jobshop Manager
            linked to each Jobshop opportunity      2011
            and link with accreditation
            Develop scheme to improve Graduate      From          Director of Membership
            Retention in Canterbury in              September     Services, Jobshop Manager
            conjunction with City Council and       2011
            Business Groups
            Increase the amount of jobs available   Ongoing       Jobshop Manager
            in local area through Jobshop year on
            year




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