The awards are the most prestigious in the higher education calendar, celebrating the talent, dedication and innovation of individuals and teams across all aspects of university life.
Sheffield Hallam received the award in recognition of South Yorkshire Futures (SYF), the biggest university-led social mobility programme in the country, and its leadership in the civic university agenda.
Launched in 2017 in partnership with local authorities and schools, South Yorkshire Futures had a clear aim: to help children and young people in the region achieve a successful life by increasing attainment and supporting progression into higher education and work.
South Yorkshire Futures (SYF) is a cornerstone of the University’s Civic University Agreement, a set of commitments to the region to help address key challenges and have a positive impact on the lives of our communities.
In April 2021, South Yorkshire Futures supported the opening of the Early Years Community Research Centre. Home to the Meadows Nursery, the Centre provides early years provision from age two for local children in an economically challenging area of Sheffield.
SYF also helped to launch the GROW Mentoring Programme – a holistic mentoring scheme for GCSE and A-level pupils at risk of disengagement from their studies – set up in response to school closures during the pandemic. Its efforts ensured that 1,000 pupils across South Yorkshire received extra one-to-one support.
And funding was secured from Sheffield Hallam to expand South Yorkshire Children’s University, building on a successful pilot in Rotherham and establishing a branch in Barnsley to increase the reach of the programme, which gives children who take part two additional months’ progress in reading and maths, compared with their peers.
The judges said South Yorkshire Futures provided ‘an extensive range of initiatives and projects, from nursery provision to a children’s university and post-18 skills partnerships, all focused on support for disadvantaged young people’.
Professor Sir Chris Husbands, Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, said: “I’m delighted Sheffield Hallam has been recognised for its local impact.
“We are proudly a university of place. Our South Yorkshire Futures Programme demonstrates the impact of our civic agenda and our commitment to tackling key regional challenges.
“I want to thank every member of staff, across academic and professional services teams, as well as our student community for their commitment and hard work in driving positive change.”
Sheffield Hallam was also shortlisted for University of the Year and the University’s Advanced Research Centre (AWRC) was also shortlisted for Knowledge Exchange/Transfer Initiative of the Year for the AWRC Wellbeing Accelerator.
The Wellbeing Accelerator has successfully supported UK and international early-stage health and wellbeing companies to bring their innovative products to market. The unique programme brings together businesses, researchers, clinicians, and patients in one location to develop technology driven innovations.
The Times Higher Education accolade follows a series of award wins for Sheffield Hallam. It was named University of the Year in the Educate North Awards 2022, the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON) Awards 2022 and the UK Social Mobility Awards 2021.
Sheffield Hallam was also announced as the Outstanding Entrepreneurial University of the Year at the 2021 THE Awards.