Anyone who knows me will tell you how committed I am to seeing a fully fledged-university in Peterborough.
It’s the single biggest thing we can do to stop our talented young people from leaving to build their lives elsewhere and ensures that our businesses have a good crop of people with the skills and talent they need to apply for jobs.
We’re closer than ever to there being a dedicated Peterborough University. University Centre Peterborough (UCP) is continuing to work towards gaining degree awarding powers and research is ongoing into the type of courses which will meet the needs of students and businesses. An appraisal is also underway of the Bishop’s Road site where the development of a new campus for up to 2,000 students is proposed.
Developing an independent university is an exciting but complex process and although I would like it to happen tomorrow, it takes time to achieve.
In the meantime, the number of people studying degrees in the city is increasing year on year, with double the number of young people from our schools starting a degree with UCP in 2018 compared to the year before. That’s fantastic news and proof that more of our young people are improving their career options.
I was also impressed to hear that more than 250 students graduated last year with good numbers achieving the higher grades. Eighty-eight per cent of integrated engineering students and 57 per cent of sociology students achieved a first class honours, which is fantastic.
The undergraduate provision at UCP has also continued to grow with the launch of new degrees in digital arts, digital marketing, electrical and electronic engineering, mechanical and manufacturing engineering and five new business management degrees.
Having a fully-fledged university will result in significant economic benefits for the whole city, and at the rate we’re progressing, it may not be that far into the future that we achieve it.
Click here for more information about the degree courses available in Peterborough.
This Sunday the city will be packed with people hoping to achieve a personal best in this year’s Perkins Great Eastern Run.
This annual event is a highlight in the city’s calendar and one which attracts more and more people each year since its return in 2006.
Running has grown in popularity over recent years, partly thanks to the sporting achievements of Mo Farah and the rest of Team GB in the London and Rio Olympic Games.
However, I think it’s also down to the freedom it offers and its ability to fit easily into our modern lives.
Running (and walking, my personal favourite) are the few forms of exercise that can be done alone and in almost any environment. You don’t need any expensive equipment, you just put on your shoes and go.
The health benefits of regular exercise and getting out into the fresh air are undeniable and we all know we should be doing a lot more of it.
So with that in mind, I’ve got two messages for you ahead of this Sunday’s race event.
Firstly, I’d like to wish everyone participating in the half marathon and the Anna’s Hope 5km Fun Run an enjoyable and successful day.
And secondly, I’d like to invite everyone reading this column to make time this weekend for a 30 minutes walk or run. If you want to tie it in with watching the Perkins Great Eastern Run in action, you can find the route on the PGER website. However, one of the best locations to watch the runners pass is Cathedral Square.
As part of the devolution deal across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough the government committed to a housing fund of £100million to be spent over the next five years.
The fund will be spent across the area to build more properties including affordable homes.
I was pleased to secure such a large fund to support residents, especially as the original offer from government was to be spent across all of Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Suffolk and Norfolk!
Details have been announced this week of the first projects, subject to approval, that are set to benefit from this funding that was only available as part of a devolution deal for the area.
As this is my first column of the year I’d like to wish residents all the best for a happy and prosperous 2017.
There is always a lot going on in Peterborough and I believe that the next 12 months will be no different, with many exciting developments and subjects to focus on.
I think we can all agree that this city has waited long enough for the regeneration of North Westgate and I am committed to seeing this progress in 2017. We announced a few months ago that the council will invest £15million over the next three years to buy land and property so we can take a lead role in its comprehensive redevelopment.
While we are planning for the North Westgate scheme, on the other side of the city centre the planning has finished and work has begun on Fletton Quays. This £120million regeneration project will really begin to take shape over the next 12 months as works to transform the site start to build up steam.
Every week I read stories in the media about what I should or shouldn’t be doing to improve my health or increase my life expectancy.
One week it’s beneficial to have a glass of wine a day, the next it’s not. Having too much sleep can kill you, but so can not enough – how do you strike the right balance!
If you’re like me you probably find it confusing and contradicting. Our Healthy Peterborough campaign is trying to offer residents some clarity by providing medically proven information and advice on how to kick poor health into touch, by making simple lifestyle changes. Each month the campaign targets a different health issue and in July the focus has turned to our youngest residents.
Improving the health of our children is so important as I believe that those who are healthy and physically active perform better at school because they are happier and more confident.
We have invested heavily in our schools in the past few years so that all our children, regardless of where they live in the city, receive the best possible education and the best start in life. I’m proud that currently more than 85 per cent of our schools are judged good or better by Ofsted.
That’s all very well, but it’s just as important that we concentrate on improving the health of our children so that they are best able to succeed at school.
Exercise and healthy eating both help children maintain a healthy weight which reduces their risk of poor health. A healthy weight can also increase self-confidence and improve concentration, which helps them to learn and go on to achieve great things. (more…)