7 Gloucestershire community projects boosted by Hartpury University and Hartpury College

Hartpury University and Hartpury College supports a number of different projects that help connect and empower young people throughout Gloucestershire. Here, SoGlos rounds up seven of the initiatives making a difference in local communities in the county.

By Kaleigh Pritchard  |  Published
From championing women in sport to making the joys of farming available to all, these eight community projects supported by Hartpury College and University are helping young people across Gloucestershire.
In partnership with Hartpury University and Hartpury College  |  hartpury.ac.uk
Hartpury University and Hartpury College

Offering A-levels, T-levels, diplomas, undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses, Hartpury University and Hartpury College has a specialist 360-hectare campus in Gloucestershire, designed to equip students with the skills, knowledge and experience needed to move into a dream career. It is among the UK's leading specialist education providers in animal, agriculture, sports, business, equine and veterinary nursing.

Hartpury University and Hartpury College is well established as an outstanding institution with 4,600 students studying at a range of levels, from PhD's to undergraduate degrees, diplomas and A-levels, in subjects including agriculture, animal, equine, sport, veterinary nursing, business and biological sciences.

As well as its international and national reputation, Hartpury is also working hard to support local projects throughout Gloucestershire.

Director of business development at Hartpury, Stuart Emmerson said: 'Hartpury is proud to work hand in hand with many important local and impactful organisations.

'It's so encouraging to see our students and staff using their passion, skills and expertise to help make a difference in the local and regional community.'

SoGlos rounds up seven of the community initiatives being boosted by Hartpury's resources and students, helping young people in the county to live better lives and experience a wider range of opportunities and extracurricular activities.

Bringing the farm to Gloucester City

In a push to support inclusivity and widen participation within the community of Gloucester, Hartpury works closely with St James City Farm and Riding School.

St James City Farm is a non-profit community project providing young people with a range of hands-on farming experience that is proven to be an effective way to build knowledge and aspirations for children living in the city to learn and benefit from interaction with animals. The day-to-day running is overseen by registered charity, The Friendship Cafe.

Recently, Hartpury hosted two equine taster sessions on campus for those affiliated with City Farm and the Friendship Cafe, which included a tour of the equine yard and therapy centre, before allowing the group to ride on some of the most advanced riding simulators available in the world at its Margaret Giffen Rider Performance Centre.

Boosting grassroots sport throughout Gloucestershire

The Hartpury Sports Business Hub is working in partnership with Gloucester City Council, through the government's UK Shared Prosperity Fund, to encourage and support local sports and ensure the community centres they can be played in stay open and functional.

Harnessing Hartpury's expertise to upskill volunteers at sports clubs, this strategy helps to increase the impact, viability and sustainability of sporting facilities that are often the beating heart of communities in Gloucestershire and beyond.

By facilitating coaching sessions in schools; training workshops; work placements; and consultancy projects, led by Hartpury students studying towards their masters in sports, Hartpury hopes to continue bringing people together, inspiring personal achievement and creating strong social networks.

Connecting local farmers to technology in Stroud

The recently secured Shared Prosperity Funding from the UK government is also powering three community-focused initiatives, including empowering farmers to embrace digital advancements happening in the industry.

Hartpury's Technology and Local Knowledge (TaLK) project delivers a package of free digital support services for farming businesses, designed to address 'real world' digital challenges and barriers the agricultural industry faces daily.

Covering areas such as connectivity, data management, cybersecurity, technology application and general digital skills, the fully-funded packages are already helping farming businesses in Stroud and Monmouthshire — with plans to expand the reach by taking the Hartpury Agri-Tech Centre on the road across the county to assist in driving economic, environmental and social value in the sector.

Championing women in sport

A highly successful partnership between Gloucester Rugby and Hartpury University and Hartpury College was formed back in 2014, with the creation of Gloucester-Hartpury RFC.

Since then, the women's team has gone from strength to strength, with 2023 seeing them compete in the Allianz Premier 15s Premiership Women's Rugby — the very highest level in the women's domestic game — and securing a maiden Premiership Women's Rugby title after beating the Exeter Chiefs 34-19 in front of a home crowd at the aptly renamed 'Queensholm' Stadium.

Hartpury continues to provide an outstanding rugby pathway that leads onto talented players being able to progress into the professional game.

Riding for the Disabled in Maisemore

Celebrating its 50th anniversary with a visit from HRH The Princess Royal in 2022, Maisemore Riding for the Disabled has also been based at Hartpury Equine centre for 15 years.

The organisation provides opportunities for therapy, achievement and enjoyment to children with disabilities, ranging from moderate to severe — who all get to ride and bond with much-loved RDA ponies Barney, Brian and Drummer.

The programme is reliant on volunteers, some of which are Hartpury students, who go along to sessions every week.

Collaborating with Forest Green Rovers FC

As well as its heavy emphasis on grassroots sports in communities, Hartpury works to provide professional experiences too.

In June 2022, Forest Green Rovers FC began a partnership with Hartpury University, offering a fully funded part-time place on its MSc Applied Performance Analysis in Sport degree programme — which also included a two-year industry work placement as a performance analyst within the club!

The partnership reinstates Hartpury's commitment to offering its students a wide variety of opportunities to gain experience within industries while studying, and it continues to form strong bonds with local football clubs to do this, including Cheltenham Town FC and Gloucester Rugby.

Supporting Gloucestershire schools

Partnering with HorseBack UK, a charity empowering individuals to commit to positive personal development through horsemanship, Hartpury supports local schools by facilitating the sharing of benefits that come from learning around horses.

Hartpury student volunteers contribute to the trialling of this alternative learning method that has been proven to boost confidence, motivation and self-esteem.

The initiative sees staff and students from schools undertaking a series of exercises, formulated and overseen by members of HorseBack UK. The transformation in the children involved in the programme so far has been astounding, with many becoming more confident while working in groups to develop team building and resilience when learning — plus, the project also supports Hartpury students in their own development of coaching and communication skills.

More on Hartpury University and Hartpury College

More from Culture