Civic mission

LSBU remains steadfastly committed to the civic mission that our founders envisioned

The Borough Polytechnic, forerunner to London South Bank University (LSBU), was founded in 1892 to support the people and businesses of south London with the provision of “industrial skill, general knowledge, health and well-being”.

LSBU remains steadfastly committed to the civic mission that our founders envisioned. We uphold the tradition of doing ‘public good’ not only in our educational work but also through research collaborations that create real world benefits; our close working partnerships with local anchor institutions; and our wider public benefit programmes.

You can find out more about our civic work below.

Promoting access to opportunity

LSBU provides high-quality professional and technical education, defined by close collaboration with employers and our community. This includes professional accreditation of our courses, employer sponsorship and one of the most extensive higher and degree apprenticeship offers in the UK. By providing courses closely aligned to careers in this way, we aim to support people of all characteristics, talents and levels to achieve their potential.

In 2019, we founded LSBU Group to expand the opportunities for higher-level study within our local community. The Group is a pioneering collaboration which brings together Higher, Further and Secondary education to create coherent pathways for local learners from age 11 up to postgraduate study.

Research with impact

LSBU is committed to undertaking research and innovation that enhances teaching and tackles global and civic challenges - generating critical insights and sustainable solutions to transform the lives of individuals, communities, businesses and society.

From helping the UK reach its 2050 Net Zero target by designing state-of-the art heat networks; to developing new public health interventions in partnership with local authorities; to supporting hundreds of SMEs through our business innovation programmes, LSBU academics make a tangible impact on the lives of people both across London and internationally.

Working with partners

Partnership working is crucial to LSBU’s civic mission. We believe our democratically accountable local government partners are well placed to understand the needs of our diverse local communities and the University can therefore make the most impactful use of our expertise and resources by working with these organisations to support their strategic priorities.

LSBU has Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with the London Boroughs of Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark. We also work closely with local business groups, regional and sub-regional bodies such as the Greater London Authority and South London Partnerships; NHS Trusts; local and voluntary groups; and a variety of local educational institutions.

The LSBU Group Civic Statement (PDF File 890 KB) sets out the commitment we have made to South Central London as part of our civic mission; and the partners we work with in order to achieve these aims.

Working with business

LSBU collaborates with business in a broad variety of ways including apprenticeships and employer-sponsored courses; business and innovation support, start-up and incubation, and skills development. We work to support local enterprise growth with the support of our academic insight and reduce entry barriers for underrepresented to businesses owners to access the knowledge and funding that will enable their businesses to scale up.

Between 2014 and 2024, LSBU was the largest HE provider of EU-funded business support and innovation programmes in London - helping over 1000 SMEs across a range of sectors and supporting the creation of 140 jobs. The University has more than 80 SME tenants on campus who engage with the curriculum and support development opportunities for students; and our Enterprise Steps programme has helped over 650 early-stage London entrepreneurs start their business journey and grow to their full potential.

Civic initiatives and public benefit programmes

LSBU runs a number of civic initiatives and public benefit programmes designed to directly support our local community. These include:

  • Legal Advice Clinic - a free public drop-in advice service staffed by LSBU law students working under the supervision of practising solicitors.
  • Business Solutions Centre – a free drop-in service available for local businesses to receive advice on small business accounting, marketing, social media and IT solutions.
  • Energy Advice Centre – an online and drop-in service providing energy-saving advice for local residents.
  • LSBU Active – Membership of LSBU’s sports centre and gym is available to local residents. LSBU Active also offers holiday sports camps.
  • Chiropractic Clinic – Based at our Croydon Campus, the LSBU Chiropractic Clinic offers affordable treatment for a range of musculoskeletal problems, including spinal problems, joint dysfunction and herniated discs.
  • The Borough Road Gallery – a free public art gallery with exhibitions several times a year featuring works from A David Bomberg Legacy: The Sarah Rose Collection.
  • Public Lecture Series – the university holds publicly-accessible lectures by both its academics and guest speakers throughout the year.
  • LSBU Green Skills Hub – promotes training, mentoring, work placements and job opportunities in the net zero sectors for local residents.
  • South Bank Innovation – LSBU’s enterprise arm provides a range of flexible short courses for individuals as well as funded development and innovation programmes for SMEs.
  • Confucius Institute – The Confucius Institute at LSBU offers Mandarin language courses as well as traditional Chinese medicine treatments including acupuncture and Tuina (Chinese massage).