Prominent MPs and Councillors from across the Liverpool City Region came together at a special networking event hosted by Liverpool Hope.
The political figures were welcomed by academics from the University’s Schools and Departments, and given the opportunity to find out more about how their cutting-edge research and social initiatives are having an impact at both a regional and national level.
As well as all 15 local MPs, who represent the constituencies of Merseyside, the University invited the Lord Mayor, Leader, Deputy Leader and Cabinet leads for Children and Young People, Education and Older People from the six Merseyside metropolitan boroughs.
Speaking at the opening of the event, Vice-Chancellor and Rector Professor Pillay said: “We are living in precarious times and unless we work together it will be a bumpy road for our future. Universities are here to support our civic leaders and we must all come together to get the message out about the wonderful new Liverpool we are all proud of.
“Starting the conversation today is important, as we must raise political awareness among students. Our impact is not just in research, but in forming graduates who make a difference and are engaged in public life.”
Among those in attendance at the event was Bill Esterson, Labour MP for Sefton Central and Shadow Minister (Business and Industrial Strategy), who said: “I last visited Hope about 5/6 years ago, so when I received the invite it seemed like a good time to re-establish links with the University.
“In my role as Shadow Minister, I’m keen to work with Business Schools, and Hope’s Circular Economy project is of particular interest.
“I believe we have to support, champion and encourage University education, as if we want a high-skill, high-wage economy, we need to ensure there are people who meet these skill sets.”
Councillor Clare Carragher, Mayor of Sefton, described the event as proving of interest for both her role as a Councillor and as Mayor.
She said: “I like to create links with people who have the knowledge to help with issues that we in the council face. For example, planning laws are a key issue for my area and I think it’s important to work with experts who can explain issues such as biodiversity and the importance of protecting local areas.
“I’m also interested to find out more about the University’s Creative and Performing Arts departments, as I’d like to create a Mayor’s Award that helps inspire and educate at risk youth about jobs in digital media.”
Mick Whitley, Labour MP for Birkenhead, said: “I totally agree with the importance of events like this, as we must be driving debate and conversation. As politicians, we need to understand what’s a hot topic and what’s going on with students, as government policies will affect a lot of today’s students.
“The event has been great and despite driving past the Hope Park campus several times, I never realised what a hidden gem it is. The campus is absolutely stunning.”
Also among the guests, was Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside Emily Spurrell, who spent time chatting with academics from the Psychology department about their research into terrorism and the psychology behind offending.
Event organiser Michael Lavalette, Dean of the School of Social Science, said: “The event was a great opportunity for us to showcase what Liverpool Hope is about and the chance to highlight our community contacts, our partnerships, our professional training degrees, and our research.”