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.
2011 – 2015 This project brought together partners from the Picardie region of France with colleagues in Kent and Medway to help identify the reasons behind late diagnosis of HIV and how to promote earlier testing. It was part of the Interreg IVA France (Channel) England programme, co-financed by the ERDF, and worked with local authorities, charities and healthcare organisations on both side of the Channel, bringing nearly £1 million of funding into the public health sector over its two year lifetime.
In 2012, 118 people were diagnosed with HIV in Kent and Medway and for more than half of these people, the diagnosis came at a late stage in their illness. Late diagnosis is one of the biggest contributing factors to illness and death for people with HIV. If someone is diagnosed a long time after they have been infected, it is more likely that the virus will have already seriously damaged their immune system. Early diagnosis is important so people can start treatment if they need to, look after their own health and take steps to ensure they don’t pass the virus on.
The project partners carried out research to identify the factors behind late diagnosis in Kent, Medway and Picardie and also piloted innovative ways to promote earlier HIV testing, which will contribute to the better health of the population in their cross border region. The research study was guided by Canterbury Christ Church University, and Professor Annmarie Ruston, Head of the Centre for Health and Social Care Research, has said ‘this study is valuable for Kent and Medway as it has the potential to improve the health outcomes for patients with HIV, leading to earlier diagnosis and treatment.’
We were the lead partner for this project, with English co-partners Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent County Council Public Health, Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust and the Medway NHS Foundation Trust. Our French partners were the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire d’Amiens, Instance Regionale d’Education et de Promotion de la Sante du Picardie and Association Aides.
A closing conference “Tackling HIV Stereotypes” was held in the spring of 2015 and the final report Targeting late diagnosis of HIV in Kent, Medway and Picardie was produced in the summer of 2015.
For more information, visit the IMPRESS website on impresshealth2.eu
2012 – 2015 This was an East Kent Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust (EKHUFT) project in partnership with ESIGELEC, Universite de Picardie Jules Verne, University of Essex and the University of Kent.
The Health and Europe Centre provided the administrative support for EKHUFT’s medical physics and neuro-rehabilitation departments who worked with their academic colleagues to develop assistive technology for disabled people.
The project’s target group were disabled people living at home who require care and it looked at innovative ICT solutions that would maximise their autonomy and independence. Specifically, they developed a humanoid robot that can carry out household tasks as well as undertake minor medical jobs such as taking blood pressure which is then communicated to the patient’s doctor via the robot’s cognitive platform.
EKHUFT provided the necessary healthcare professional and patient input to the design, testing and evaluating all the systems that came from this project. The neuro-rehabilitation team accessed patients who were the target group of this project and involved them, making sure that the technology being tested was robust enough to ensure patient safety.
This is the CareTECH programme from the project’s closing conference in the summer of 2015.
2011 – 2015 This Interreg-funded project has designed an intelligent electric wheelchair, which is a great improvement on existing wheelchairs as it allows autonomous guidance and efficient and secure communication to be established with the equipment.
To guarantee the use of the device by the largest number of end users
To develop a human-machine interface that is adaptable to the specific needs of each user
To create a device that can evolve and is capable of adapting itself to the state of the user – their tiredness for example, or the fact their condition is worsening over time.
The Health and Europe Centre provided administrative support to the East Kent Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust who worked in partnership with the Institut Superieur de l’Electronique et du Numerique, Ecole Centrale de Lille, The University of Kent and the University of Essex.
This team of experts have developed a human-machine interface necessary for the guidance of the wheelchair by the user, an intelligent module for autonomous wheelchair guidance and a module of transmission of data between the wheelchair and its environment.
There were three main objectives to this project:
This project finished in June 2014 but the innovative work produced by this team was continued in another cross-channel project – EDECT.
2009 – 2011 This project built on previous research undertaken in Kent which looked at the values and attitudes of young people that pre-determine their life choices.
The research further explored the rationale that certain young people seem to be more susceptible to ‘risky’ behaviours like crime, drug abuse, anti-social behaviour, homelessness, poor health, benefit dependency and teenage pregnancy. These, in turn, seem to correspond with low levels of self efficacy, which is defined as ‘people’s belief about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect their lives’.
The project’s objectives were to:
- Better understand how to increase young people’s self-efficacy as part of their journey through life.
- Explore interventions that are preventative rather than ones that just treat the symptoms.
- Address the lack of information on self-efficacy by conducting an International Literature Review on the subject.
- Inform strategists and policy makers so they can commission more effective services for young people.
Perceived self-efficacy is defined as people’s beliefs about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect their lives. Self efficacy beliefs determine how people feel, think, motivate themselves and behave.
The work of Bandura gives a comprehensive explanation of why ‘self efficacy’ is so important and how self efficacy is developed through a young person’s lifecycle, or not, as the case may be.
2005 – 2007 Bien-être was a cross border two-year healthy schools and communities project between a multi-agency partnership in Kent and Pas-de-Calais, France which started in September 2005.
The objectives of Bien-être were to create cross-border and local learning networks – comprising of those involved with the health and education of children and the well-being of communities – in order to learn from different cultures; to foster mutual understanding of different methods of health and educational service delivery; and to explore opportunities for reducing health inequalities in schools and local communities.
By using food as a catalyst, the project stimulated interest in healthier lifestyles through professional, social and cultural exchanges. Increased community involvement in local projects helped further community development to improve the lives of children and parents in local areas. The project also increased access for the children, their families and the wider community to a range of cultural activities focused on the enjoyment of healthy eating.
As part of the project, there were annual cross border professional exchange visits and two one-day Festivals of Food, Culture and Sports – one in Pas-de-Calais and one in Kent – bringing together schoolchildren, members of the community, health professionals, head teachers and teachers involved in the Bien-être project, as well as other health and education professionals from the area.
2005 – 2007 This project, developed in partnership with Kent Teenage Pregnancy Partnership and the Conseil général de la Somme, was a two year action research project exploring the values and attitudes of groups of teenagers and professionals to sex and relationships, sexual health and teenage pregnancy. This information will be used by young people and professionals to develop new ways of looking at education and health services, with the aim of tackling teenage pregnancy.
Young people in Kent and the Somme took part in focus group meetings to discover these attitudes and a young people’s advisory group participated in the development of the interventions. By involving young people directly in this work, a better understanding of the complex influences on their behaviour was gained so that the resource developed were as relevant and influential as possible.
The projects also involved workshops and focus groups for professionals across Kent and the Somme, to discover professional perceptions of young people’s attitudes and to map out the work currently being undertaken in this area. This information served to highlight any attitudinal mismatch between young people and professionals and indicated where there are gaps in service provision. Professionals also had an opportunity to participate in the development of the interventions through an advisory group.
Key partners were the Health & Europe Centre; the Centre for Health Services Studies (CHSS) at the University of Kent, Kent Teenage Pregnancy Partnership; Kent County Council, and the respective Primary Care Trusts. Key partners in the Somme were the departments for maternity and child welfare, education, social services and health education.