University centre takes major step towards opening

Grantham's new University Centre to deliver higher education and skills training for the district has taken a major step forward.

Internal work has now been completed, ready for final furnishing to open the way for degree studies, high-level apprenticeships, diplomas and short courses to be delivered by the University of Lincoln.

South Kesteven District Council delivered the scheme, with support and expertise from its economic regeneration company InvestSK. 

The new 9,000 sq ft centre within the SKDC-owned  Savoy cinema complex on St Peter's Hill has been funded by the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership with internal fit-out by the Lindum Group.

Speaking at an official hand-over by Lindum on Wednesday, SKDC chairman, Cllr Jacky Smith, said: "Grantham deserves a facility to serve the skills requirements of businesses and individuals across the district. For too long we have seen too many of our young people leave the district to get their higher education elsewhere.

"It's now up to us all to make the most of this wonderful opportunity and the large number of courses available on our doorstep."

Leader of the Council, Cllr Kelham Cooke, said: "We have ambitious plans for the district, its regeneration and growth. Fundamental to those plans is an ability to access higher level education and skills training, to nurture and retain young talent and provide access for businesses to develop the expertise of their workforces.

"We have invested heavily in the heart of Grantham town, notably the Savoy cinema complex, and the fact that our very own University Centre will contribute positively to that is extremely exciting."

InvestSK CEO Steve Bowyer said: "The new University Centre is a fantastic new facility for South Kesteven. It has come about through genuine partnership working between the council,  InvestSK, the Greater Lincolnshire LEP, the University of Lincoln and, of course, the great construction work undertaken by Lindum.

"Developing the right skills for the businesses in and around South Kesteven has always been important for the economy, and this even more true now. This Centre should play a vital part in our economic recovery across the region."

Professional business services will also be offered at the University Centre, including start-up advice, growing businesses and business networks, and events and talks will be hosted there.

Ruth Carver, Chief Executive of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "The Greater Lincolnshire LEP is delighted to be involved in the creation of the new centre in Grantham.

"Our £2m grant support for the scheme will enable educational opportunities for southern Lincolnshire residents and businesses to higher level skills development in the priority sectors for Lincolnshire.

"We look forward to working with all of the partners in developing a curriculum that is focused on the needs of the business community."

University of Lincoln said the centre provides the right platform for rolling out learning opportunities to enhance the productivity of businesses in South Kesteven.

Dr. Craig Marsh, Pro Vice Chancellor University of Lincoln and Director Lincoln International Business School said: "The University is committed to extending its reach for quality Higher Education within Greater Lincolnshire, as part of its focus on its civic duty to the county.

"Our first offering rolled out in Grantham in Nov 2019, with an executive programme 'Developing a Managerial Mindset'.

"We would like to bring to the regions those learning opportunities that are most required at this unique time in history, to uplift skills and directly aid employability and productivity."

Construction company Lindum Group carried out the building work after being appointed through the Scape Regional Construction framework.

The work was completed by its Peterborough-based team and Contracts Manager Colin Knight said it had been a successful project.

"When we were appointed, the building was basically a shell," he said. "We were instructed to install all the mechanical and electrical systems, put up the interior dividing walls and install the fixtures and fittings.

"The work was not without its challenges. Access to the site was limited and the work was in a pedestrianised area, which made deliveries trickier.

"But we are very pleased with the final result and were delighted to hand over the keys to InvestSK."
As part of the contract, Lindum calculated the additional impact its building work had on the wider economy.

Using the Social Value Portal, the company measured the 'added value' created by things like using local labour, appointing local contractors and using local merchants and suppliers.

So far, the Social value added is calculated to be £636,560.34 (which is 85.8 per cent of the contract value).

In addition, Lindum donated a life-saving defibrillator to InvestSK, which will be installed in its offices.

To fulfil our Social Enterprise commitments the company also commissioned not-for-profit organisation Pelican Trust to build a wooden bench that will be installed in the nearby pedestrian area.

Pic 1: SKDC Leader Cllr Kelham Cooke (left) with council officers, Chairman Cllr Jacky Smith, Deputy Leader Cllr Barry Dobson, Ruth Carver, David Chambers, Chairman of the Lindum Group,  and company representatives at the University Centre handover

Uni centre large group

Pic 2: SKDC Chairman Cllr Jackie Smith (centre) with Ruth Carver,  Chief Executive Greater Lincolnshire LEP, and David Chambers, Chairman of the Lindum Group

Uni centre small group