Rooftop view of Old Portsmouth and the Spinnaker

Becoming a civic university

We're promoting inclusion and enriching economic, social and cultural life in Portsmouth and our region

We're committed to enhancing the local community and region through our research, services, estate, and staff and student collaboration. We're more than the University of Portsmouth. We're the University 'for' Portsmouth.

In 2019, we were one of the first universities to develop a Civic Partnership Agreement with partners in the local community and region to promote inclusion and enrich economic, social and cultural life. The agreement has six initial priorities, which we embedded in our University Strategy as a single priority to become one of the UK's leading civic universities.

Become one of the UK's leading civic universities

One of our priorities in our University Strategy is to become one of the UK's leading civic universities. To achieve this, we will:

  1. Enhance lives through volunteering
  1. Enrich collaborative opportunities
  1. Promote the city of Portsmouth
  1. Drive inclusiveness and opportunities for all

1. Enhance lives through volunteering

Our aim is for students and staff to work with the community to enhance the social, cultural and economic life of the city. And to give students the opportunity to develop the Hallmarks of a Portsmouth Graduate. Discover the ways we're improving our city through volunteering.

Students volunteering in the community

Each year, our students volunteer more than 60,000 hours at over 200 local charities, social enterprises, schools, community groups, theatres and not-for-profit organisations. So far they've helped 100 local children learn to read through the 'Pompey Pirates' literacy project.

They also offer free community services in our Accounting Clinic, Legal Clinic and Dental Academy Patient Services, and free business services through the Business Consultancy Project.

In 2019/20, our student volunteers added £493,700 to the local economy.

Helping the community through the pandemic

We've supported local schools, colleges and businesses, helped with vaccinations and supported COVID-19 community testing programmes. One of our undergraduate students is aiming to volunteer 1,500 hours for the NHS during the pandemic and our staff are also giving up their time to help frontline services in the national effort.

Amy Hughes, outside the Nightingale Hospital in London

I started volunteering for St John Ambulance when I joined university, as I wanted to be able to give back and help my local community. My volunteering has not only helped me develop as a person but has also provided me with invaluable skills that I can take forward with me and use in my future career.

Amy Hughes, Photography BA (Hons) student


2. Enrich collaborative opportunities

We aim to benefit Portsmouth's community by collaborating with local businesses, organisations and the public sector, and by offering free support, advice, and services to the local business community.

Working with public sector organisations and businesses

We're helping Fareham Borough Council survey local businesses to influence their Economic Development Strategy. We're helping Hampshire Constabulary be prepared to police during future pandemics. And we're working with local organisations and businesses on the action group 'Shaping Portsmouth's Future Together' to help the city's economy recover from the pandemic.

Providing services to local businesses

We offer business services to support and grow local businesses, including our Accountancy Clinic, Accelerating Women's Enterprise (AWE) programme, conference and event space, co-working and office space, free energy efficiency audits and funding through Low Carbon Solent for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to become more sustainable.

Peter Hooley

Whether it's online support through webinars, volunteering, or surveying our community to plan for the future, we're invested in Portsmouth and the local business community, and we're planning a prosperous future together.

Peter Hooley, Director of Business Development, Faculty of Business and Law


3. Promote the city of Portsmouth

Portsmouth has unique strengths and a rich heritage. We want to show the world how great this city is. Through partnership work, we aim to champion shared interests, support economic growth and make the city a destination of choice for people to live, work and visit.

Partnering with Portsmouth Football Club to improve and promote our city

We've partnered with the Club to improve and promote our city, increase local participation in higher education, and provide work experience for our students.

Transforming Portsmouth into a global sustainability showcase

In response to the climate emergency, we're working to improve our sustainability and become a climate positive university by 2030. Sustainability will guide every aspect of our operations, from development of our campus and transportation, to sustainable corporate systems and procedures.

Through the Revolution Plastics initiative, we're working with local and international partners to find innovative solutions to the plastics crisis and transform Portsmouth into a global showcase for a sustainable future.

We've also joined local residents on the Portsmouth Climate Action Board to help the city become carbon neutral by 2030.

Steve Fletcher standing by a wall

If the Portsmouth community can revolutionise the use of plastics as part of a larger sustainability platform, any community in the world can. We see this as a pilot programme for the planet…an incubator for similar programmes in other cities, communities and countries.

Professor Steve Fletcher, Director of the Sustainability and the Environment Research Theme and Revolution Plastics


4. Drive inclusiveness and opportunities for all

We're constantly striving to promote diversity and inclusiveness. We're a Stonewall Diversity Champion and work with groups including Working Families, Time to Change, Mindful Employer, AccessAble and Disability Confident. We're also members of two Higher Education lead charters, Athena SWAN and the Race Equality Charter, which drive gender and race equality.

Find out more about our equality and diversity work.

Improving access to education

We're improving access to education by supporting children in care and care leavers, Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, military service children in Portsmouth and refugees and asylum seekers by becoming a University of Sanctuary.

Our success in promoting widening participation, social mobility and diversity is reflected in our student profile. Our full-time undergraduate population includes a high proportion of students from state schools (96%), Black, Asian & minority ethnic (BAME) students (29%), students from low income households (30%) and students from low-participation neighbourhoods (30%).

Supporting Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff and students

As a member of the Race Equality Charter, we're dedicated to supporting our diverse university community through events and workshops, partnerships with like-minded organisations and networks, our scholarship and support fund for Black students, and by sharing resources for wider education in race equality.

Supporting LGBTQ+ staff and students

We're creating an inclusive workplace for all our LGBTQ+ staff and extending the same values to our students. We also sponsor Portsmouth Pride and the annual LGBTQ+ Film Festival run by Portsmouth Film Society.

yvonne howard

We attract diverse local, national and international students who trust us to sharpen their knowledge and skills for a brighter future. Their diversity of thought, values and traditions brings a richer curriculum across our campus and contributes to the economic success of our city. We reap these benefits by creating places where people feel safe and confident to perform to their best.

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