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07 March 2022

A new challenge for students, staff and local communities

King’s Civic Challenge brings together students and staff with local charities and community organisations from Lambeth, Southwark and Westminster.

Illustration of people building a tower of coloured bricks, with text saying BE A LOCAL CHANGEMAKER

Teams made up of undergraduate and postgraduate students, staff and community partners are working together to co-develop original solutions to some of the challenges our neighbouring communities face today. 

Designed in collaboration with partners across our home boroughs, King’s Civic Challenge aims to equip students, staff and community partners with transferable skills and civic values, while responding to local issues and concerns.

Headteacher-led charity, The Elephant Group, works with schools, universities and businesses to support academically able students from non-selective state schools to access ‘top third’ universities. They have asked their King's Civic Challenge team to develop a project to help local young people better understand and access allied healthcare degrees and careers.

Housing for Women is a charity based in Lambeth and Westminster with a mission to empower women and challenge inequality. They are working with King's students and staff to develop an oral history project that will capture the views and lives of their older tenants who have been living in historic properties in the borough for over 20 years.

With the help of students and staff from King’s, my initial idea has now turned into a real project that, if successful, could soon become a reality. The input from the group is beyond amazing.

Maria Galan, Housing for Women

Maria adds, 'My team all bring different perspectives and contribute very good ideas and possible solutions to potential challenges and obstacles. I would not otherwise have the time and energy to turn this small idea into a real project.'

Carers’ Hub, one of the winners of the inaugural King’s Civic Challenge, is taking part again this year, aiming to raise awareness of the obstacles that young carers face. 

Our previous project brought together the expertise of King's students and staff with Carers' Hub's desire to further support unpaid carers in Lambeth. We were delighted to be successful and able to then produce a series of creative workshops to highlight the voices and experiences of carers and promote better mental health and wellbeing.

James Holdcroft, Carers' Hub Lambeth

King's Civic Challenge teams attend workshops led by sector experts on idea generation, communications, stakeholder management, evaluation and presentation skills to help develop their project proposal. Shortlisted finalists then pitch for the chance to win funding and additional support to make their ideas a reality.

I decided to join King's Civic Challenge as I was keen to work with like-minded individuals on projects that have meaning and a wider impact on communities within London. Studying Public Policy, I wanted to apply the knowledge I had in that sector to help address the issue at hand for the partner charity.

Esther Talbourdet, MSc Public Policy & Management student

Other challenges being addressed by this year's teams include tackling food insecurity, empowering young carers, supporting vulnerable families and helping victims of domestic violence.

At King’s, we know that London’s challenges are our challenges, and that our success as a university is dependent on the health, success and wellbeing of the city around us. Coming together with our local communities to share insights, develop innovative ideas and address issues at a grassroots level matters more than ever, and it will deliver unique learning opportunities for our students.

Baroness Deborah Bull, Vice President, Communities & National Engagement

King's Civic Challenge offers prizes of up to £5,000 aligned to mutual priorities agreed with our home boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Westminster: health and wellbeing, business and enterprise, education and attainment and community resilience. Winning teams also receive ongoing support and coaching as they implement their ideas.

Previous winners have created immersive theatre experience inspired by people living with dementia, mounted an exhibition to raise awareness of the challenges that carers face, launched football workshops for young girls in Lambeth and Southwark and even secured jobs with their charity partner.

Find out more about King’s Civic Challenge here.