£20million government funding boost for city

Published: 27 October 2021 at 16:04

ARU Peterborough concept art

Successful university Levelling Up bid will improve skills and increase opportunities in Peterborough

A joint bid, submitted by Peterborough City Council, will receive £20million from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund, providing a huge boost to the development of ARU Peterborough, a project that will improve skills and opportunities in a city known as a higher education 'cold spot'.

The money will be invested in combining additional teaching facilities at the campus with the development of new cultural facilities. At the centre of the development is a new landmark cultural asset called The Living Lab, which will be located within a second ARU Peterborough teaching building.

The new teaching building will provide STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education to thousands of students, helping to produce a higher-skilled workforce for the city to help generate high quality economic growth and attract cutting-edge industry.

This innovative university-managed space will combine learning with an interactive public science facility and will form the heart of a new University Quarter Cultural Hub, making the city centre a more attractive destination for residents, businesses, and visitors.

The bid was submitted to Government in June following a competitive process. An announcement this week (Wednesday, 27 October) revealed the council had been successful. ARU Peterborough is a partnership between the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Peterborough City Council, and Anglia Ruskin University (ARU).

The overall cost of this new project is £28million, with Peterborough City Council contributing the land for the project to an investment value of £2million, Anglia Ruskin University investing a further £4million and the Combined Authority’s Business Board contributing £2million. The first phase of ARU Peterborough, which is already under construction, will be welcoming its first students in September 2022.

The Government’s Levelling Up Fund aims to provide funding to help regenerate towns and cities across the UK that have been identified as most in need of additional support.

In Peterborough, only 32 per cent of the population have degree level qualifications, compared to a national average of 43 per cent. The city also ranks 191st out of 324 local authority districts for social mobility, with nearby Fenland ranked 319th.

Councillor Wayne Fitzgerald, leader of Peterborough City Council, said:

"This is life-changing news for our city. This investment in a third phase of the soon-to-open ARU Peterborough university will deliver a huge boost to the career opportunities of our future workers.

"By investing in education for our residents and developing the skills we know are needed by local businesses and the businesses of the future, we are investing in the long-term development of our city and the prosperity of coming generations."

Professor Ross Renton, Principal of ARU Peterborough, said:

“This funding will help us deliver a fantastic learning environment not just for our students but the people of the city and region. Providing the city with a first-class university will help increase opportunities, improve social mobility, and provide an economic boost to the local economy.

“Universities should be deeply embedded in their communities and this innovative project aims to do just that, combining state-of-the-art facilities to help improve high-level skills, education and research to support industry in the city while enhancing its cultural offering and creating a real destination for visitors too.”

Nik Johnson, Mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, said:

“This is great news for the city, another exciting step forward for ARU Peterborough. I place a very high value on cooperation, and this successful bid owes a lot to collaboration among local leaders and the strong case made to Government.

“The Phase 3 building will add a new, exciting dimension to what ARU Peterborough will offer students, the city and the people who live there. This will offer a new cultural attraction, encouraging people into a thriving University Quarter which will inspire people to learn, including through an innovative Living Lab. I hope it inspires generations of local people into a lifetime of learning.”

Austen Adams, Chairman of the Business Board, said:

“Improving skills is one of the core pillars of the Business Board’s ambitious vision for the region. Our investment will repay itself many times over by further expanding the capacity of ARU University to give people the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century economy.

“By improving skills, we help people into good careers, we support businesses with the skills they need and we will improve the rate and strength of our recovery and regrowth post pandemic. ARU Peterborough has the potential to help local businesses to grow faster, stronger and more sustainably.”

Paul Bristow MP said:

"It's excellent news for Peterborough that it is getting these funds as part of the Levelling Up fund.  This is something that businesses will look at and see ARU Peterborough as somewhere that really stands out."




Open Days for ARU Peterborough

Two Open Days for ARU Peterborough will take place in the coming weeks, the first on Wednesday, 10 November from 4pm until 7pm and the second on Saturday, 11 December from 10am-2pm. To book a place, visit https://aru.ac.uk/peterborough/open-day-sign-up.