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OFFA Director Praises University of Worcester's Community Engagement Work

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The Director of the Office for Fair Access (OFFA), Professor Les Ebdon CBE, visited the University of Worcester this week to view the vast range of widening participation initiatives the University is operating within its community.

OFFA is the independent public body which acts to safeguard and promote fair access to higher education, ensuring that under-represented groups have the appropriate opportunities to attend University.

During his visit to Worcester, Professor Ebdon met with the University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor David Green, Secretary and Pro Vice Chancellor (Students), John Ryan, Professor Geoffrey Elliott, Director of Regional Engagement Strategic Partnerships, and Director of Information and Learning Services, Anne Hannaford.

He was shown around University facilities, including the new University of Worcester Arena – the fully inclusive facility designed to host able-bodied and disabled sport – and The Hive, Europe’s first joint University and public library.

Professor Ebdon said: “I’m very impressed with the access and widening participation work that the University of Worcester are doing, and I’m particularly pleased to see the emphasis that they are putting on the whole student life cycle.

“It’s also very pleasing to see the amount of community engagement work they are doing at the University Arena and The Hive.”

During his visit to The Hive, Professor Ebdon also met Kate Thackeray, Senior Lecturer in Youth and Community Studies and leader of the University of Worcester’s Hive Youth projects, along with two student mentors.

Kate explains: “It was great to welcome Professor Ebdon to the University, and to be able to explain to him how our Youth mentor project aims to encourage and support young people within their communities.

“The projects see student mentors work closely with the young people to enable them to develop their knowledge, skills and confidence, in order for them to be able to make informed decisions about their futures, and consider options that they may not have thought possible before.”

She continues: “We have clear objectives, which are based upon valuing and celebrating young people’s contribution to their communities and supporting them through potentially challenging times ahead. The projects enrich the University’s inclusive programme and fundamental beliefs in communities of practice.”