Posted on 10 December 2012
The University of Wales Council has announced the creation of Adduned Cymru – The Wales Pledge to ensure that the assets it holds will continue to benefit the whole of Wales both before, and after its transformation through merger with the University of Wales: Trinity Saint David and Swansea Metropolitan.
Adduned Cymru – The Wales Pledge, with a fund value of £6.8m, will entail a range of strategic arrangements including the establishment of a number of independent trusts to safeguard the traditional services associated with the University such as the University of Wales Press, the University of Wales Dictionary, the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies in Aberystwyth and Gregynog Hall near Newtown.
In October 2011, the University of Wales made a commitment to merge with the University of Wales: Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) and Swansea Metropolitan under the 1828 Charter of UWTSD. This decision was in accordance with Welsh Government policy.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales, Professor Medwin Hughes, who took up office at the University 12 months ago said: “The University of Wales has a long and proud history dating back to 1893 and has made an outstanding contribution to higher education. However, times change. The Welsh university sector as a whole has grown and become stronger necessitating new ways of working to meet modern challenges.
“The University of Wales is engaging positively with this process, has started legal discussions and instigated initial consultation. These will of course continue during this period. At the same time the University will safeguard its legacy for future generations and Wales as a whole. In creating Adduned Cymru – The Wales Pledge, the University is being faithful to its core values and ensuring the assets serve the purpose for which they were intended.”
These new legal structures will support a range of academic and cultural initiatives which reflect the very best of the history and legacy of the University of Wales. Within a period of transformational change for higher education in Wales, Adduned Cymru – The Wales Pledge reaffirms a clear commitment to safeguarding a range of cultural and academic assets for the Nation.
The Chair of the University of Wales Council, Mr Alun Thomas said: “Working in partnerships with parties who have an interest in the delivery of the mission of the University of Wales, Adduned Cymru – The Wales Pledge will establish a range of initiatives, including the establishment of a number of separate independent charitable trusts, to safeguard some of the traditional services associated with the University.”
The Wales Universities Trust will safeguard the numerous charitable gifts the University has received over the years, which have been donated for dedicated purposes. The total endowments received by numerous benefactors fund currently stands at £5.5m. The Trust will be independent of the University, and will have representation from the higher education sector in Wales. The restricted endowments will be transferred over to the charity, which will protect the original benefactions.
The Wales Heritage Academy, which will promote the Welsh language, heritage and culture, will be established as a joint venture initiative. The University Council will commit an initial half a million pounds to the trust to further the work of the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies and the Dictionary of the Welsh Language. Building upon the academic interests of the transformed University in addition to other strategic partners, the Wales Heritage Academy will establish a range of academic and cultural programmes to celebrate the dynamic heritage of Wales.
The University of Wales Press Trust will safeguard and further the work of the Press. Originally founded in 1922 it has a proud tradition of serving Wales and all its universities by publishing outstanding scholarly publications in both Welsh and English to further knowledge and to inspire scholars and students alike. The University Council will transfer an initial sum of half a million pounds to the new trust thus allowing the press the opportunity to develop a new strategic plan which will entail new business opportunities which respond to the digital demands of on-line and electronic publishing. Working with other academic institutions, the press will expand its educational remit and develop a range of new initiatives. The press will also forge strategic relationships with other cultural national bodies in Wales.
The Gregynog Trust will safeguard for the nation Gregynog Hall. This historic house and country estate was bequeathed to the University of Wales by the Davies sisters of Llandinam in 1960, and has been primarily used by University staff and students across Wales, playing an important role in facilitating collaborative work. With the backing of Lord Davies, this charitable trust will invite key stakeholders, including representatives from higher education, to be its members. The Gregynog Press, which began the tradition of fine printing in 1922, is currently undergoing a review to determine its future direction. The University will use some of its historic unrestricted endowments to establish an initial fund to support the work of the Gregynog Trust. This is a key development which safeguards this Welsh cultural and environmental asset.
The land still held in Trust by the University under the Welsh Churches Act, which is approximately 170 acres, as well as some common land, will be placed into a new, separate Trust. To date, Universities in Wales have gained substantially through the successful transfer and selling of land assets. Since 1939/40, the universities of Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff and Swansea have each received approximately £2.7m, while the National Library of Wales and the University of Wales have received £1.8m. The remaining land will be sold and the funding received will be shared in accordance with the legal deed between the institutions mentioned above.
The merger of the University of Wales with the University of Wales: Trinity Saint David and Swansea Metropolitan has been endorsed by the Welsh Government and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. The resulting institution, involving all three Universities, is expected to be fully integrated by 2017/18.
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