UCL East




Public engagement

Public engagement at the UCL Spark Festival 2015

UCL East will be an open, accessible and engaged university campus. We will reach out to and engage with people who live, work and study in and around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, making a significant contribution to realising the Olympic legacy.

We will do this by:

  • empowering staff and students to be agents for change in the community
  • enabling and supporting productive relationships with local communities
  • working with Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park partners to support the delivery of the Olympic legacy
  • communicating and engaging with local communities to deliver successful construction and transition to operation.

Our initiatives 

UCL has already started engaging with people in east London through our four main engagement areas:

Widening participation

UCL has a commitment to widening participation in higher education. Every year, we work with 20,000 young people to help raise aspirations and demystify university life.

Student volunteering

UCL’s Volunteering Services Unit is one of the largest university volunteering departments in the UK.  It supports over 1,700 students a year to volunteer with local charities.

Public engagement

UCL does research that addresses real world problems, and through our Public Engagement Unit we are committed to opening up our research to people outside the university, creating a culture of two-way engagement between researchers and the public.

Museums & Collections

UCL’s museums share their extensive and important collections with communities across London through a wide-ranging programme of exhibitions and workshops, both inside the museums and out in the community.

Examples of current projects in east London

New Wallball activity and free sessions with coaches at Warton Road playground

A new community Wallball court opened at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, transforming an unused area of Stratford into a playground and inspiring residents to get active and try this exciting new sport. Children from the local Carpenters Primary School were invited to participate by designing balls to be featured on the court, which was jointly funded by LLDC and UCL. The best designs were then incorporated into a bigger artwork created by UCL which was unveiled during the opening event.

The idea of a Wallball court was suggested by Daniel Grant, a former student at UCL who is now a member of the Team GB Wallball team.

QEOP provided activities and a barbecue on the opening day and Wallball champions from Team GB were also present to help local children try the new sport. The Wallball champions included Daniel Grant (captain of the men’s Team GB and ranked 2nd in Europe); Daniel Tristao (current UK Open Champion and ranked 4th in Europe); and Kathleen Briedenhann (captain of the Team GB women’s team).

There will be free sessions with coaches running every Tuesday and Thursday between 2-4pm and the court is free to use at any other time all days of the week.

Public consultations

Communities around Stratford were consulted in February 2016 as part of Stage 2 of the planning process, to ensure they understood the challenges ahead and how UCL intends to tackle them. A special focus was put on young students who went on site to visualise where UCL East will be. They measured features of the direct surroundings such as the allocated site area and indexed natural biodiversity. Through role play and collage, they imagined the future experiences of UCL East users. The outcome of this consultation will help designers to articulate the site, engage communities and create a welcoming public space.

Watch a video showing young students imagining UCL East here

Inspire Newham 

Inspire Newham is a long-term engagement project working with high-potential young people in Newham schools. All participants are from families with no history of higher education. Year 9 students come to UCL for six academic sessions. Over the course of those sessions, the pupils select, research and present on a topic that interests them.

When in Year 10, the pupils come back to UCL for further taster lectures, research and presentation workshops. The Year 11 programme focuses on career guidance and A level support.

Watch a video showing how young people have benefitted from Inspire Newham.

Legal volunteering at Community Links 

Sabina Garahan, an undergraduate UCL Laws student, has been volunteering as a community legal advisor at Community Links in Newham for three months. 

Sabina wanted to broaden her experience and give something back to her community: “As a law student at UCL, exposure to high-paying commercial city firms is incredibly high, so as someone who lives in east London, I wanted to make the most of an opportunity to help those in my community, who perhaps need legal assistance the most.”

Find out more about how UCL students and Community Links have helped local residents.

Weight Concern 

Weight Concern is a registered charity run by a group of researchers and clinicians at UCL who seek to address the needs of people who are overweight, thereby tackling the growing problem of obesity in the UK. The charity has partnered with Newham Carers’ Network to help them with their goal to support the maintenance and improvement of carers’ health in the borough.

Good Neighbours project 

Dr Rodney Reynolds, a teaching fellow at the UCL Institute of Global Health, is working to help the elderly, their families, service organisations and the communities in which they live to consider how technology can support learning and reduce social isolation. He has collaborated with Newham New Deal Partnership to support its Good Neighbours project.

The next few years will see us add to our programme of activities as we continue to forge links with the local community in preparation for the anticipated opening of UCL East in 2020.