The On the Town project – A Local Ambassadors’ Programme, led and co-ordinated by lecturer Dr Carolina Escobar-Tello from the Loughborough Design School in collaboration with Keele University and Coventry University, concluded earlier this year after launching in March 2016.
The project looked to bring together young local and higher education communities through innovative workshops that focused on using arts and theatre approaches to elicit information.
It received funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England Social Innovation Fund and saw the University work with Love Loughborough, TwentyTwenty, Shelter and a number of high street businesses.
On the Town’s final social innovation event in Loughborough was held at Fearon Hall. The event, titled ‘Pull Your Socks Up’, saw students and young members of The Prince’s Trust explore the town together and answer challenging questions while following a trail map.
Coventry University and Keele University also hosted workshops and events within their communities.
As well as successfully bringing young groups closer together, the On the Town project gave students a sense of belonging and saw local young people learn new skills and open pathways to employment.
Dr Escobar-Tello said: “The most beautiful thing about this project was to see how everyone came together and collaborated out of a volunteering spirit.
“To get to this level of engagement and ultimately to the final social innovation events was not easy, but the journey made it clear that the impact of our collaborations was worth it.
“It was genuinely about making a difference to the young people involved.”
Co-investigator Dr Anita Mangan, of Keele University, said: “The On the Town project was very rewarding to work on.
“The best part was meeting community members and listening to their ideas about how to find innovative ways to bring communities and universities together.”
More on Pull Your Socks Up and Keele University’s final event can be found on the Design School YouTube page.