New Croydon university campus promises to ‘change lives of thousands’ in borough

Mayor Jason Perry, and Vice-chancellor David Phoenix unveiling a commemorative plaque. Pic: Amelia Neath

Croydon’s first ever university campus, part of London South Bank University, has officially opened in the newly-refurbished Electric House in the town centre.

David Phoenix, vice-chancellor of LSBU, promised that the university will benefit local businesses in Croydon, in his speech at the campus opening event last week.

Phoenix said that the campus will benefit the local residents as much as Croydon will benefit them: “We are not an ivory tower; the students are going out and using that knowledge to the benefit of the local community.”

The newly opened campus has a couple of hundred students studying at its chiropractic clinic, nursing department, business and engineering centres.

Electric House on Wellesley Road, home to the LSBU Croydon Campus. Pic: Amelia Neath

Phoenix said the NHS trusts in and around Croydon will benefit from nurses on placement.

The campus is also home to the Business Solutions Centre, which will be run by students and trained student advisors to give free advice to local businesses.

Phoenix said: “Our business solutions centre provides free advice to small businesses, including accounting, marketing, social media, and IT solutions. We are also branching out to legal advice for businesses, but also residents.”

“The legal support for residents is for people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford that advice. They will get advice in terms of housing tenancy and other issues.”

He also said that a Researching Innovating for Sustainable Engineering Centre will allow businesses in Croydon to access labs and equipment.

Phoenix said that LSBU Croydon has already partnered with 40 businesses in Croydon to give them support.

One of these local businesses, Need 2 Succeed, has been able to operate their national qualifications training course company on the Croydon campus.

Roberto Mobile, the Director of Need 2 Succeed, told Eastlondonlines: “LSBU provide us with fantastic support through customer service, security, business, support, and linkages with local providers that enables our organisation to thrive and be the best it can be. LSBU gives our organisation a fantastic position and space in central Croydon to help us to reach our goals.”

Mayor Jason Perry said at the official opening: “The way that you [LSBU] have worked with local businesses, catering courses to upskill our local people, and provide the skills and the jobs that we need locally in Croydon.”

Perry has made it clear in the past that he feels that business and innovation in Croydon are in desperate need of support, previously telling React News: “At the moment, if I were an investor walking out of East Croydon station… I’d probably have second thoughts.”

This comment was made before his Business Plan was announced in November. At a later council meeting, he said he hopes to still continue with his plan of making Croydon an opportunity for business and education, despite their restricted spending after declaring bankruptcy for the third time.

While Phoenix did not make comment about the £1.6bn “toxic bad debt” Croydon currently has, he said the campus will be able to help Croydon’s business sector: “Croydon’s first university campus will change the lives of thousands of local people by providing support for local businesses to help them develop and grow and delivering first-class healthcare services to treat patients.”

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