Partnership to improve lives of students and residents set up


A new partnership designed to help students integrate more successfully into local communities while recognising the value and importance they bring to Cardiff's economic and cultural life has been set up.

Cardiff Council, South Wales Police and the city's three universities - Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, the University of South Wales; and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama - have come together to form the Student Community Partnership board which will focus on the following four key priorities:

  • Community Life -improving student housing, waste/litter and parking issues, community safety & curbing antisocial behaviour
  • Student health and wellbeing- offering advice and support, improving student mental health, dealing with drug and alcohol harm, and promoting healthy lifestyles
  • Economic development- investigating ways to improve graduate retention in the city after students finish their studies, growing research opportunities, supporting young people through the Cardiff Commitment and building the economic recovery following the pandemic through strategic regeneration projects and development of the higher education sector
  • Net Zero- developing plans for decarbonisation, more and better green spaces, sustainable transport, estate planning, increasing tree planting and recycling numbers.

The partnership will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which will see all the named bodies work together to improve the lives of students and local residents.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Huw Thomas, said: "The positive benefits of students learning and living in the city and the wider region is always underestimated. Our student population plays a key part culturally and economically, ensuring Cardiff continues to grow as a vibrant and youthful capital city. But that vibrancy can sometimes come at a price in parts of the city where litter, noise and anti-social behaviour can obscure the positives. This is why we want to build a partnership which can look at ways in which we can all work together to improve outcomes for students and for residents in local communities where there is a high student population.

"The latest available data shows that the Higher Education Sector contributes £4bn to the UK economy, with over 70,000 students learning and living in the South Wales Region. The three universities employ over 12,000 full time jobs, and this figure is considerably higher if you consider the wider supply chain.

"This new partnership will bring together the universities, the council, and the South Wales Police into a formal partnership to focus on our four priorities, to ensure that the significant benefits that the student population contributes to the local economy are realised, while ensuring there is a closer integration between the student population, the authorities and the wider community to tackle any issues that arise."

Vice-Chancellor for Cardiff Metropolitan University, Professor Cara Aitchison said:

"At Cardiff Met we wholeheartedly endorse the development of this partnership approach which further embeds our commitment to working with Cardiff Council,university colleagues and stakeholders throughout the region in order to help bring about positive change for the people who live, learn, work and spend time in our beautiful capital city. Our partnership workingmanifests itself in many ways, not least through sharing our sporting expertise and facilities to help nurture healthy future generations of Cardiff citizens and working together with our partners as environmental custodians of the city, committing to becoming a Net Carbon Zero university by 2030."

Cardiff University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Colin Riordan said: "Universities are part of the fabric of Cardiff life. Given the economic, social and humanitarian crises caused by the global pandemic and the horrific invasion of Ukraine it's more important than ever that organisations come together to face our joint challenges and support each other. That's why I'm delighted to sign this new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The MoU builds on existing relationships between the Cardiff-based universities and Cardiff Council which has helped us jointly tackle key issues and to highlight the benefits that students and the universities bring to city life and the wider city economy. The areas of focus are particularly welcome and mirror our own strategic priorities of being a good neighbour, helping our students deal with mental health challenges, supporting the capital's economic recovery from the pandemic and working together to deliver our shared ambition for a net zero future."

Vice-Chancellor of the University of South Wales, Dr Ben Calvert, said: "Signing the MOU to ensure the continuation of the Cardiff Student Community Partnership will enable us all to build on the good partnership working that has taken place in the interests of our students and the wider community. There is a significant student population based in, and travelling to, Cardiff and by working with other higher education providers, along with Cardiff Council and South Wales Police, we can work together to positively address a wide range of topics collectively, from student housing and community safety to wellbeing, supporting the local economy and our drive to decarbonisation. We look forward to continuing this work and further supporting Cardiff and the South Wales region as being a fantastic place for students to study, work and live." 

The MOU has been signed between Cardiff Council, South Wales Police, Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, University of South Wales, in conjunction with the Royal Welsh College for Music and Drama.