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Newspaper bids to safeguard university’s future

A newspaper’s campaign to safeguard the future of its local university has reached the Welsh government.

North Wales title The Leader launched its Hands Off Our Uni campaign to raise awareness of a threat to the independence of Wrexham-based Glyndwr University.

The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) is recommending it should become part of a new group led by universities in Bangor and Aberystwyth.

Hundreds of Leader readers completed campaign coupons opposing the proposals which will now be considered by Welsh education minister Leighton Andrews.

Tim Bowden, editorial manager for Leader publisher NWN Media, said: “The HEFCW report has major implications but had received relatively little coverage.

“The Leader is Wrexham’s daily paper so it was essential we launch the Hands Off Our Uni campaign to raise the profile of the issues at stake.

“Glyndwr has a vital economic, social and cultural role in the wider area and for that reason we have also carried our campaign in our Flintshire and Chester editions.

“The fantastic response from readers across the region demonstrates we were right to do this and meant we could send a clear message to Leighton Andrews: Glyndwr should keep its independence.”

Glyndwr was founded in 2008 but has roots stretching back more than a century.

It generates an estimated £70m a year for the local economy, is home to BBC Cymru Wales and in August bought Wrexham FC’s historic Racecourse ground.

NWN editorial director Barrie Jones said: “Glyndwr University is part of Wrexham’s character and maintaining its independence is vital.

“Too often decisions are made in Cardiff that show little understanding of the true needs in the North and this was a chance to make sure we were being heard there – loud and clear.”