New Peterborough university could hold festivals and research dementia treatment

Holding festivals and helping to treat conditions such as dementia are among the long-term plans for Peterborough’s new university.

Sunday, 28th March 2021, 5:00 am

In an interview with the Peterborough Telegraph, Ross Renton, the new principal at ARU Peterborough, outlined his vision for how the higher education institution can ingratiate itself into the community once it opens its doors in 2022.

“I’m really keen for us to be embedded in the culture and heritage work that’s being done in Peterborough - students would benefit from that,” he said.

“Peterborough as a destination has potential as well.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

An artist's impression of the proposed ARU Peterborough campus building.

“When you’ve got a university you have a fantastic opportunity to hold specialist events, things like festivals and arts events in tandem with the institution.

“You’ve got an opportunity for students to mentor and work within in the community - so to develop cultural inclusion activities. My experience of that is things like reading clubs.

“I also think there’s an opportunity to work with some of the more vulnerable groups within Peterborough. At ARU we already have a reputation with support around dementia. You can see so many potential opportunities from having a university and researchers working there.

“Some of the courses we have from moving into that first teaching building are around health. I think an aging population and health improvement - we can be part of that agenda across the city.”

How the new research and development centre could look

The first teaching building at the Wirrina Car Park is due to welcome its first students in September 2022 and will see ARU integrate its existing nursing provision provided at Guild House into the new campus.

Peterborough is seen as a cold spot for higher education, and Mr Renton is keen to reach out to different community groups while inspiring younger child to consider a career which they can study for at the new technical university.

“Our work will need to be part of the educational eco-system, and for me that starts in primary school,” he said.

“I’ve done work in the past to help establish new primary schools and there was a real focus on helping both parents and children having a clear sight through to jobs and opportunities.

“If you can get girls engaged in science and have role models going in from a university and doing experiments with them, it makes all the difference when it comes to picking the subjects you do at GCSE and even more difference when choosing your A-Levels or apprenticeship.

“We’ve got a plan around and schools and colleges outreach that we want to really embed in the work we’re doing long term in the community.

“We’re not just looking at those ready to come in September next year, it’s about those just starting at school and helping to make sure the right educational opportunities are there, and we’re meeting our colleges in the region and progressing with them.

“For us to be successful it’s about reaching out and engaging with people.”