EMPOWERCARE

EMPOWERing individuals and communities to manager their own CARE 

The 2Seas area is facing a common problem: rising demand for health and social care services by our growing older population creating a pressing need to find new approaches. In 2013 the over 65s made up 18.2% of the European population; 19.4% in France, 18.6% in Belgium, 18.7% in the Netherlands and 18.2 % in the UK. These figures are set to rise to a staggering 28.7% on average by 2080. With the cost of care for older people increasing it is necessary to integrate these groups more closely with their communities, keeping them healthier and in their own homes safely for longer. The challenge facing the 2Seas area is that we will run out of resources if we don’t change the ways citizens are involved in their own health and wellbeing.

Adding to Social capital and individual Potential in ex-Industrial REgions (ASPIRE)

This proposed project will be applying for funding under the Interreg VA France (Channel) England programme which focuses on issues that affect the coastal areas of southern England and northern France. In both areas there are places currently deeply affected by the closure of a single dominant employer such as mining, ship-building and heavy industrial production. The local economy has found it hard to replace the jobs lost and the resulting deprivation shows in the levels of unemployment and general ill-health (mental and physical).

This project will initiate and encourage small-scale community involvement in growing, cooking and selling local produce, creating a healthier community and enabling small businesses to evolve and regenerate the local economy.

The Health and Europe Centre are the lead partners in this project and although it is in its very earliest stages, we already have a number of organisations interested in becoming partners, including Medway CIC, KCC, Plymouth Council, Kent CHFT and the Hadlow Group through the Betteshanger Community Park.

Perinatal mental health

Perinatal mental illnesses affect at least 10% of new mothers and can have a devastating impact on them and their families. When mothers suffer from illnesses such as anxiety, depression and postnatal psychotic disorders it increases the likelihood of their children experiencing behavioural, social or learning difficulties and failing to fulfil their potential.

This project (PATH) is applying for funding from the Interreg 2Seas programme and will devise and pilot a range of services within local areas to ensure that women who are at risk of, or suffering from, perinatal mental illnesses are given appropriate support at the earliest opportunity. These services will support new mothers in their return to work and will have a clear cost benefit to them, their families and to health systems. Perinatal mental illnesses in the UK are estimated to cost society around £8.1 billion for each one-year cohort of births, with 72% of this cost relating to adverse, long-term  impacts on the child.

We have only just started looking for partners but already have interested organisations in the UK including KMPT, Plymouth MIND and the Institute of Health Visitors as well as Odisee and Karel de Grote University in Belgium.

Sexual health in the over 50s

People in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s are having sex with new partners but many don’t think safer sex applies to them, perhaps because they are past child-bearing age and/or because they have recently come out of a long-term relationship and haven’t had to think about safe sex issues for many years.

As a result, sexually transmitted infections are increasing in this age group. However many older adults missed out on safe sex education and the result is they are diagnosed with an STI when it is too late to benefit from the medications available for treatment of diseases in their early stages.

This project (SHIFT) is looking for funding from the Interreg 2Seas programme to raise awareness and knowledge of both clinicians and the general public so that attitudes are changed, the older generation is engaged and empowered through the provision of better information, and delivery strategies are improved.

This will lead to reduced rates of STIs, and therefore lower health care costs and a better trained healthcare workforce able to offer fit-for-purpose services.

We are actively looking for partners but already have interest from Medway Council, Canterbury Christ Church University, KCC, KentCHT, Brighton and Hove and the Metro charity in the UK as well as Eurasante in France and Vives in Belgium.