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Vol. 13 No. 3

Developing Access between Universities and Local Community Groups: A University Helpdesk in Action

  • Angie Hart
  • Simon Northmore
  • Chloe Gerhardt
  • Polly Rodriguez
July 22, 2010


In this article, the authors offer the University of Brighton’s Community-University Partnership Programme (CUPP) Helpdesk
as a model of an “enabling platform” for university-community
engagement. Despite the growth of practical and scholarly activity in this area, there is a relative lack of research focused on the processes by which higher education institutions establish and sustain community partnerships. An account of the development of the helpdesk is related to a discussion of its role in capacity building, both within the university and externally. The authors review some of the organizational barriers to effective university-community interaction and suggest that, while concrete models remain elusive in the literature,a mechanism such as the CUPP Helpdesk can help overcome the barriers that hinder the facilitation of engagement work.