Hartpury University and Hartpury College is a pillar of education within the Gloucestershire community, with its outstanding Ofsted rating and its excellent reputation for sport, agriculture, equestrian, business and veterinary nursing courses.
But it's also no stranger to supporting new ventures and activities across the county and its force for good can be found in some unexpected places.
Hartpury is involved in many projects, whether they hail from deep within the urban surroundings of the city or out in the glorious rolling countryside.
Already well-known to many for its commitment to developing local agriculture and equestrianism through its top-notch teaching facilities and courses, Hartpury also has a partnership with St James City Farm and Riding School in Gloucester, helping as a funder and supporter.
Its outreach team and equine department recently hosted two equine taster sessions at the Hartpury campus, attended by young people and adults involved with City Farm and the charity that helps in its daily running, the Friendship Cafe.
The participants, all from diverse backgrounds, were introduced to Hartpury's state-of-the-art Margaret Griffen Rider Performance Centre and got a chance to ride on some of the most advanced riding simulators in the world — Hartpury offers similar experiences within its involvement with the Riding for the Disabled Association in Maisemore, Gloucester.
The outreach team at Hartpury also connect to local schools within the county to inspire young people and children and show them the benefits of learning around horses. Those that have already engaged with the programme include Holmleigh Park High School, Severn Vale School and The Peak Academy — all trialling an alternative learning provision that builds confidence, motivation and self-esteem.
Helping to boost regional growth through tech developments in farming, Hartpury's Technology and Local Knowledge (TaLK) projects have enabled the institution to extend the reach of its pioneering Agri-Tech Centre to deliver a package of free digital support services for Gloucestershire agricultural businesses.
Heavily involved in promoting physical activity, the Hartpury Sports Business Hub, in partnership with Gloucester City Council, supports sustainability in local grass roots sports while monitoring the impact of community centres across the city, with students and staff working to engage with key local and regional sports organisations to take part in real-world research consultancy and live briefs, as well as continuing its work in collaboration with local football clubs, Forest Green Rovers and Cheltenham Town.
Plus, with its Gloucester-Hartpury women's rugby team winning the Allianz Premiere 15s tournament, during its first ever campaign in summer 2023, Hartpury rightly puts huge emphasis on encouraging women in sport.
The squad featured 13 Hartpury College and University students, staff and alumni, showcasing the institution's well-established and world-renowned rugby pathway.
Hartpury is a beacon of sporting success for women's rugby and is instrumental in driving female sports participation — not to mention the added positive economic benefits contributing to the county’s sports and events calendar, attracting significant visitors to the area.
For a deeper dive into Hartpury's efforts, check out SoGlos's round up of seven Gloucestershire community projects boosted by Hartpury University and Hartpury College.