Edinburgh Local

University reaffirms its commitment to the city with new Community Plan  

The University has published a new  Community Plan 2020-25. The plan outlines how we plan to bring about positive social impact and act responsibly and collaboratively with communities in our local region.  

The updated Plan has been shaped by extensive discussions and consultations with community organisations and individuals, as well as internal engagement with University of Edinburgh students and staff. As a result, our new Community Plan is actions-led, outlining 32 commitments, including:  

Community Grant project, COMAS
University Community Grant project, COMAS
  • Sustaining and growing activities that help us reduce inequalities in society, including ackling homelessness and rough sleeping and promoting digital inclusion  

  • A £250,000 investment in local community projects  

  • Encouraging all University staff to make use of their day’s paid volunteering leave   

  • Operating on a ‘no surprises’ basis with community partners on developments of our estate which could impact local communities  


Projects such as AMINA, which works with minority ethnic women to enhance their digital skills, and SCORE Scotland, a geoscience summer programme for children in South West Edinburgh, have already benefitted from the University’s grant scheme.  

Despite not always getting things right in the past, we believe we have a key part to play in society. Working with our partners and learning from the rich knowledge in Edinburgh and the surrounding areas, we feel we can work together to make Edinburgh more equal, aspirational and community led.   


Here are some ways your University can benefit you: 

  1. Connect with us! If you have an idea that may benefit from the University’s involvement, please email local@ed.ac.uk. You can join our newsletter to keep updated with community-University projects, building consultations and opportunities to utilise University resources. You can also visit our website and become our friend on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.  

  1. Recruit our students and staff as volunteers via our Students’ Association’s Volunteering Service. If you could use a large number of our staff as volunteers for one-off or recurring activities, email local@ed.ac.uk to see if we can help facilitate.  

  1. Sign up for one of our short courses by visiting the Centre for Open Learning’s website  

  1. Apply for a Community Grant. We have deadlines for up to £5,000 twice per year, and you can apply for up to £500 at any time. 

  1. Check out our collectionsof historic images and other materials. We hold many items relevant to local social history, including that of the twentieth century. If you can’t see what you want, ask us – there's a good chance we have it!  


Assistant Principal for Community Relations, Prof Lesley McAra said: “The University has developed this new Community Plan in the spirit of co-creation with a wide range of community partners, as well as with our own staff and students. 

“We are conscious the University has not always got its relationship with our local communities right in the past, and so have actively sought out, and welcomed, the feedback we have received during the consultation process. 

The University has a critical role to play in supporting our city region’s post Covid-19 recovery and regeneration in a positive, measurable and sustainable way. Specifically, we want to help look at how we tackle homelessness and rough sleeping, promote digital inclusion, and support vulnerable groups and areas of our city.

Assistant Principal for Community Relations, Prof Lesley McAra

Please note that the current health crisis means some of the in-person activities we would normally be pursuing have been placed on hold, but we hope to resume as soon as it is safe to do so.   


More information

If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with the Community team, please email: local@ed.ac.uk 

The University of Edinburgh’s Community Plan 2020-25 can be read in full here.