GuildHE members win real help for their regions


HEFCE today announced the outcome for bids to the Economic Challenge Investment Fund showing the Government recognises how central higher education is to the fiscal stimulus and recovery agendas.

GuildHE members have secured almost £3,000,000 to support individuals and business in their communities and have been active and fast moving in responding. They are taking up Government’s challenge to higher education to step up and contribute its knowledge and expertise to solve the economic and social impact of this financial turbulence.

The University of Cumbria not only won the biggest share at £1,000,000 amongst the GuildHE members but across the whole investment fund. Through GuildHE members like the Royal Agricultural College, LIPA, St Mary’s University College, the University of Worcester and York St John University, businesses will see much needed support reaching rural areas as well as urban zones under pressure.

Recognising that creative entrepreneurs will be important for the future economy, the successful bids from the University for the Creative Arts, University College Falmouth and Norwich University College will also have a strong impact.

Professor Ruth Farwell, Vice Chancellor of Buckinghamshire New University, Chair Designate of GuildHE and one of the institutions winning £500,000 said “I am pleased to see that so many member institutions of GuildHE have been in successful in bidding for Government funding which will be used to support individuals and businesses during the economic downturn. The amount of funding won by GuildHE institutions, together and individually, is very impressive relative to our size in the sector, and is a positive endorsement of the role that we play in our regional communities and economies.

The Bucks New University funded project is a good example of this and is a collaborative venture including FE Colleges, private training providers, County and District Councils as well as Business Link, the Bucks Enterprise Hub and the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce. Together we will provide ‘stop-gap’ skills programmes for SMEs and help unemployed professionals, recent graduates and budding entrepreneurs to acquire the necessary skills for self-employment.

Professor Chris Carr Vice Chancellor of University of Cumbria said ““This is an absolutely excellent outcome in a very competitive context. Great news for Cumbria, but great news for the University of Cumbria and the Colleges too – a really first rate example of the significant benefits which collaboration between Cumbrian institutions can bring.”

Alice Hynes, CEO of GuildHE commented, “ Higher education providers can make a real contribution and GuildHE urges the Government – in making the best of tight choices in it Budget – to recognise this capacity of HEI’s to respond and deliver effectively. “