#UniForReading: University helping to put people power at heart of tackling post-Covid climate change locally
Release Date 14 August 2020
Civic and community groups will benefit from the support of the University of Reading to tackle climate change in the Thames Valley region.
The newly created Citizens UK alliance for the region, which includes Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, brings together community members to bring about social change, and will have climate change as one of its key focuses.
The University of Reading was actively involved in the creation of the new alliance in the Thames Valley, supporting the delivery of the inaugural Thames Valley Citizens Assembly in June which brought together around 80 community representatives across the region.
Key figures from the University were also actively engaging in a Sponsorship Committee held on 19 June to oversee the development of the new Thames Valley Alliance. The Vice Chancellor, Professor Robert Van de Noort, attended, as did several academic and professional workers from the University, to discuss the key issues and how the new alliance could bring about change.
“I hope that a Thames Valley-wide approach will mean that we can work with more local authorities and organisations to think about how they respond to the present threat that climate change poses to our health” - Professor Elizabeth Robinson, University of Reading
Professor Elizabeth Robinson, an environmental economist at the University of Reading, has been working with the Reading Climate Change Partnership to understand the health impacts of current human-made climate change, and the pressure that this is likely to place on local public health services.
Prof Robinson said: “This new alliance of community and civic leaders is exactly the kind of voice we need to inform local authorities as to what they should care about and how to go about doing something about it. I am pleased to be able to bring my expertise to support Reading to get to grips with some of the key issues around climate change in the region, particularly linked to health. I am excited that this alliance will enable more communities to benefit by sharing their stories and expertise.
“I hope that a Thames Valley-wide approach will mean that we can work with more local authorities and organisations to think about how they respond to the present threat that climate change poses to our health.”
The new alliance aims to organise community members to bring about social change across the region. Five key issues have been identified by the Thames Valley Citizens:
- Living Wage for careworkers
- Tackling climate change
- Action on misogyny
- Improving relationships between young people and the police
- Improving death registration services
The University has already supported the Thames Valley Citizens alliance in a number of successes, including helping to broker a commitment from the Police and Crime Commissioner to quarterly meetings with Thames Valley Citizens, with a firm commitment on action to improve relationships between young people and the police, and an open door to explore Living Wage accreditation, action to reduce carbon emissions, and recording misogyny as a hate crime, in his remaining year of office.
In addition, the leaders of Milton Keynes Council and Reading Council have committed to back Citizens UK’s Living Wage for Careworkers Campaign - they are already accredited Living Wage employers and will publicly join our call on the UK Government to invest £1.4billion so that social care employees are paid the Real Living Wage.
Citizens UK bring together civic institutions such as universities, schools, trade unions, charities and faith groups to organise, train and support community representatives. The new alliance is being funded by the Diocese of Oxford.
The University of Reading is proud to be part of the town of Reading and makes a valuable contribution to the local area. We work closely with local community groups and organisations to support the wider objectives of the town.
Find out more about the ways that the University works in partnership with Reading organisations here and businesses here, and the economic and social contribution that the University makes to the Thames Valley region here.
Join in the conversation on social media using #UniForReading