Senior politician officially opens University’s £8.15million Social Spaces
Secretary of State for International Trade Dr Liam Fox unveils plaque
Dr Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade, has officially opened the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) £8.15 million Social Spaces.
The Social Spaces will improve the campus experience and provide a place for students and staff to come together in a relaxed environment, while incorporating areas for break out activities and informal spaces for socialising.
Developed with the Students’ Union, and as a direct result of student feedback, a single storey ground floor extension has been added to the existing Foster Building, while a new facility has been built which links Harrington and Greenbank buildings.
Key design features include glass roofs and indoor hidden gardens, as well as movable furniture so that staff and students can reconfigure the space to suit their needs.
Dr Fox said: “I’m delighted to officially open one of UCLan’s new Social Spaces. These spaces will be extremely valuable to staff and to students, there’s a lot more to education than what you learn here and the space in which you learn it is extremely important. As you can see it’s incredibly light, there’s a huge amount of investment going on here, this is part of a £200 million Masterplan and it includes the new flagship Engineering and Innovation Centre.
“As Secretary of State for International Trade, our department is focussed on maximising the opportunities for British businesses to thrive and the University of Central Lancashire is already one of Preston’s largest employers which contributes £200 million a year to the economy of the North West. These buildings will build a new phase here demonstrating the close relationship that exists between universities, businesses and communities and it will combine the world-class teaching facilities with innovative open spaces. There’s a huge interest already from local business who welcome the new focus and opportunities that this will bring to the area. Above all, the new Social Space will give students the space to study and thrive in their own way and leave the University to have one of the most advanced learning environments.”
"I’m delighted to officially open one of UCLan’s new Social Spaces. These spaces will be extremely valuable to staff and to students, there’s a lot more to education than what you learn here and the space in which you learn it is extremely important."
The official opening coincided with the first Board of Trade Exporting’s event called the Great Ideas Hack. The Department for International Trade (DIT) partnered with UCLan and Boost, the Lancashire business growth hub, to deliver the event.
The Great Ideas Hack is one of the initiatives the DIT is using to encourage aspiring exporters to develop their thinking and understanding about the importance of international trade and investment.
Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the University Board David Taylor said: “Given that the University is re-doubling its efforts to support the economic, social and cultural development of Preston and the wider Lancashire region, it is with great pride that we hosted this Board of Trade meeting.
“We had a great story to tell about our contribution to skills development in areas such as engineering, health, business and the creative industries; disciplines which are critical to Lancashire’s prosperity. The day represented a superb opportunity for students with an entrepreneurial flare to learn from the country’s best business leaders and help influence the next wave of UK enterprises.”
The 50 students who took part in the Great Ideas Hack came from UCLan, Blackpool and the Fylde College and Bangor University. The teams, who worked with business experts and international trade advisers, were tasked to develop a new food or drink product and create an accompanying exporting strategy. The teams pitched their ideas to a panel of experts and the winning idea, created by UCLan’s Team Infiltrate, involved a new bottled water with a twistable cap full of nutrients, vitamins, colours and flavours so people could choose what extras they wanted in their drink.
Michael Isaacs, one of the winning students, said: “To hear our name read out was absolutely amazing, I wasn’t expecting it at all but thankfully the judges loved our product. This is such a boost for us and a great addition to our CVs.”
View more images of the event on our Flickr Gallery.