UPDATE: TENANTS’ FORUM 24 FEBRUARY 2021
2 March 2021
We held our monthly Tenants’ Forum on Zoom on 24 February. Thanks to all those who attended.
MONTHLY UPDATE: Gwilym Gibbons, Chief Executive of The Crichton Trust welcomed tenants and partners to the meeting. Main points of update:
- Covid-19 Response: Back in March 2020, The Crichton Community committed to a collaborative response to Covid-19 in order to ensure the optimum safety of the community throughout the pandemic. Together we have done the best we can in these circumstances and we will continue to review how we operate in the weeks and months ahead. We are particularly aware of the challenges around mental wellbeing and the need to be kind to each other along the way.
- Grounds and Bistro: The Crichton has provided the local community with a place to breathe throughout the pandemic. It is great to see people making use of the grounds and of course our takeaway service at Easterbrook Bistro. Pending restrictions relaxing over the next 6-8 weeks we are hopeful that we will be able to open outdoor seating areas again, but we will keep you informed when we can.
- Venues: Easterbrook Hall remains closed to the public, but it has been used on several occasion to host Full Council meetings and to support DGHP with the storage and distribution of food parcels. The prospect of indoor events remain uncertain in 2021, but we remain hopeful that summer festivals (including the Doonhame Festival) and other outdoor events are more likely to go ahead later in the year.
- Our Vision: The Crichton Trust remains focused on increasing collaboration and meaningful partnerships with business, third sector and academic partners now and in the future.
- Care Campus Project: Building on the legacy of The Care Campus Project and our ambition to make D&G a great place to grow old, we have had some recent media interest in the plans for the Ladyfield site, which although belongs to D&G Council, future plans for the site must also dovetail with plans for the development of The Crichton. We are excited to work with partners to explore the possibility of developing a 21C Village for intergenerational living on the Ladyfield site which, if approved, could take 15-20 years to evolve in various phases.
- Scotland’s 5G Innovation Hub: The Scottish Government recently announced plans for ten 5G Innovation Hubs in Scotland and The Crichton has been identified as a potential location for the South of Scotland Hub and will be confirmed over the next few weeks. This will enable us to provide high quality 5G at The Crichton which will give us an edge over other business parks and presents us with exciting possibilities to test out new technology on the estate.
- The Crichton Economic Impact Assessment: The Crichton Trust is working with the South of Scotland Enterprise (SoSE) to facilitate an economic impact assessment for The Crichton. With over 1000 employees and 6000 registered students on site we know that The Crichton has a significant economic impact on the South of Scotland, but this study will quantify our impact, which in turn may help us secure future funding and resources for further development.
- Wellbeing: In the short-term we continue to focus on the wellbeing of our people, place, partners and planet.
- Crichton Central: We are now only weeks away from completing Crichton Central (formerly Fresco Café), but our plans for a phased opening of the new co-working space is likely to be delayed until at least the Spring or until restrictions ease. (Gwilym included a photo presentation to show work in progress in the new café and self-service area, the main lounge and events space as well as areas for al-fresco working, private members areas and bookable meeting rooms. The new venue also includes a new studio for Dumfries Community Radio, a shower block and a Changing Places Toilet/Shower Room). This venue offers new opportunities for collaborative working and we hope that it will inspire new connections and ideas.
Access to Crichton Central: In response to a question about timescales for accessing Crichton Central, Gwilym confirmed that although there would likely be a phased opening of Crichton Central when restrictions ease, we are not permitted to occupy any area of the building until the whole building has got a Completion Certificate, so partial access will not be possible and this will also depend on any delays imposed by Covid restrictions and the time taken to get the Completion Certificate.
ZOOM IN ON OUR TENANTS/PARTNERS: We welcomed Professor Carol Hill, Head of School of Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Glasgow, Dumfries Campus to the meeting today. Carol’s update covered an overview of The University of Glasgow’s history in Dumfries, the impact of Covid-19 on academic life as well as new developments.
The University of Glasgow, Dumfries Campus Update:
- Professor Hill thanked Gwilym for the opportunity to provide an update and concurred with his earlier appeal to be kind to others. Carol acknowledged that most people are finding this lockdown period more difficult.
Key points of interest:
- Background: The University of Glasgow opened in Dumfries in 1999 with an Undergraduate Liberal Arts Programme inspired by the 1997 Dearing Report. At that time, there were no Postgraduate programmes and limited capacity for research with only five academic colleagues and two professional services colleagues on site. Six students graduated at the first Dumfries Graduation. There was a period of uncertainty from 2006-2010 as the University made a decision in 2007 to close the campus in Dumfries. This decision was later reversed and thanks to a new financial model and restructuring within the University, the School of Interdisciplinary Studies was created and became one of five schools within the College of Social Science. This opened up many new opportunities and ensures local students also get the same quality experience they would expect from one of the world’s ‘Top 100’ universities.
- Now: The School here in Dumfries now has three undergraduate degree programmes, a cluster of postgraduate programmes and an active research community, with plans for new postgraduate programmes in Environment Risk and Tourism launching in 2021 and 2022 (See website for programme details). In 2020, the local research community at the University of Glasgow produced 55 publications and five books and continue to attract important Research Grants. In 2014/15, the University of Glasgow had around 300 FTE students which increased to around 600 in 2020. In 2014, the University of Glasgow had 25 employees in Dumfries and it now has 61 including senior academics and professors. A new professor (specialising in tourism and economic impact) joined in 2020. The University is now one of the largest employers in the region contributing between £5.8m and £14m to the local economy. Importantly, 38% of our students are local and 40% of our graduates stay local with 79-97% securing graduate-level employment. The school continues to enhance the international experience of staff and students and has a growing number of partnerships in areas such as Berlin, Helsinki, Nankai and Amsterdam and worldwide opportunities for student exchange and study abroad experiences. The student population has grown to include students with 30 different nationalities.
- Covid-impact: Like everywhere else Covid-19 has impacted on life at the University. The 2020 Graduation ceremony could not go ahead and face-to-face teaching was phased out throughout the year. Primary data collection was halted, staff and students had to work from home and students were not able to complete school/work placements, but every programme was delivered and assessed and students were able to complete their studies. The University used Zoom to continue with staff and student meetings and for pastoral support, colleagues have been busy planning for the new MSc programmes and there has been a 40% increase in applications for 2021 entry. It is hoped that students will be able to welcome new and returning students to the campus from September 2021.
- In conclusion: The University of Glasgow continues to support the local economy and to support equality and social inclusion in Dumfries & Galloway. Raising aspirations has remained an important aspect of their work in Dumfries & Galloway and in supporting the transition into the workplace. The university also has a growing reputation for meeting the needs of employers and in helping leaders to support the ongoing development of graduates in the workplace. The University looks forward to working with The Crichton Trust and the wider Crichton Community and forming new partnerships through Crichton Central.
What happened in 2018 to generate growth? Growth in student numbers resulted from a revised curriculum and in the development of more relevant and career-focussed professional degree programmes.
Gwilym thanked Carol for her update and ongoing collaboration.
Anyone interested in contacting Professor Hill can email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about all tenants on The Crichton Directory – www.crichton.co.uk
REMINDER TO ALL TENANTS:
If you are a tenant at The Crichton, please remember to keep your profile updated on The Crichton Directory too. Just send us an email and we will update it for you: email@example.com
Please encourage your colleagues to sign up to The Crichton Trust Newsletter which is accessible in the footer of our website and to browse The Crichton Magazine.
If you would like us to zoom in on your business at future meetings, please get in touch!
The next Tenants’ Forum will be on Wednesday 31 March at 11am and will include an update from Graeme Galloway, Programme Director of DYW Dumfries and Galloway. As usual, tenants will receive an email invitation from The Crichton Trust with ID details. Any queries please contact the office on 01387 247544.
If you are a tenant or partner at The Crichton and you would like to provide an update at a future meeting please email: firstname.lastname@example.org