Charities and colleges are bridging the gap between town and gown

Abbey People was one of 20 charities that came together with Cambridge colleges at the Guildhall to discuss partnership opportunities and share experiences.

The event organised by Cambridge City Council brought the charities together with 14 heads of Cambridge colleges to see how they can work together for the benefit of the community.

Jesus College recently established a community committee and has been working with Abbey People and our friends at The Red Hen Project. Support provided by the college includes, but is not limited to, facilitating volunteering opportunities for its students, academics and staff and opening its grounds and spaces to the charities for various uses.

Our CEO Nicky Shepard told the meeting:

“Our partnership with Jesus College feels like a very real way to start building links and trust between some of the most economically-challenged people of Cambridge, and one of the oldest colleges in the university. It feels as if a page is turning, and the truly wonderful thing is that we are turning it together.”

Sonita Alleyne, Master of Jesus College, said: “The colleges engaging with the charitable sector in Cambridge is not a new thing; there is a rich history of instances that show how this city knits together and intersects. The question is how can we be better and what does better look like?

“I’d like to thank the city council for providing the council chamber as the setting to begin our discussions. It was wonderful to see so many organisations come together united by care, compassion, and a desire to do good for civil society.”

While there has been a history of town and gown being exclusive, it is great to be working alongside Jesus College to build a mutually beneficial relationship, and see Cambridge City Council making every effort to strengthen this.


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