TABLO: Training Staff in the use of Arts for the Benefit of patients with Long-Term Conditions

Long-term conditions (often known as chronic diseases) – as the name suggests – affect the sufferer over a long period of time and generally progress slowly. Some of them – cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, mental illness – are leading causes of mortality. Care and treatment costs are high, the expectation of new pharmacological solutions is poor, and in any case can’t help issues such as patient isolation, loss of confidence and loneliness. Studies have shown that, for example, weekly group singing with the physical activity, social inclusion and peer support it brings, can achieve clinically important mental health and also physical health benefits. A major barrier to scaling-up participatory Arts initiatives is the training of Facilitators to deliver the sessions. Artists, health staff, care staff, educators and voluntary organisation staff all need to be trained to a professional level in the delivery of focused programmes targeted on health promotion and wellbeing. The success of a previous project Octavia encouraged its key partners to develop further opportunities for shared learning and on behalf of one of our stakeholders we have pulled together an extremely strong international team of partners and submitted a successful application to do exactly that. The EU funding stream Erasmus + which offers financial support for, amongst other things, cross-border vocational training and education proved to be a perfect fit and this project went live in the autumn of 2015.

It has developed an e-learning course of vocational training to allow people working with patients suffering from long-term conditions to integrate the arts as therapy into their day-to-day jobs. The broad range of countries involved in this partnership will ensure that the course is of the highest quality, taking diverse experiences into account and so ensuring its applicability to a wide group of people.

Visit the TABLO website to find out more


EDECT logo

2014 – 2015 EDECT: Empowerment of Disabled People through Ethics in Care and Technology

This Interreg IVA 2 Seas project was a direct result of the success of two earlier projects – Dignity in Care (DIC) in Belgium and SYSIASS.

The outcomes from these two projects identified the importance of combining ethical practice with technological developments in order to best serve the needs of disabled people, their families and their carers.

EDECT provided exactly that bridge and Phase1of the project consisted of a conference and a  publication

Phase 2 took the project further, with a series of four pilots testing both the wheelchair developed in the earlier SYSIASS project and the ethical training programme created during the Dignity in Care project.

These pilots took place in Canterbury Kent, Gits The Netherlands, Lille France, and Lomme Belgium and a final report was produced.

For more information about this exciting project, or to download all the tools created by the partners, go to

IMPRESS Health 2

Impress health 2 logo

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


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.

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:

  • 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.

  • This project finished in June 2014 but the innovative work produced by this team was continued in another cross-channel project – EDECT.



    2012 -KMPT, in partnership with Sing for Your Life and the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health (already KMPT service providers) was successful in bidding for EU Grundtvig funding to develop a two-year project to share knowledge, expertise and best practice with partners from across Europe working in the field of Arts and Health, in particular the health and wellbeing benefits of music, in a range of diverse settings. This Octavia Project aimed to ‘train the trainer’ on the physical and mental health benefits that can result from singing in groups. The funding enabled staff to visit European partner organisations to learn from their experiences, and bring this learning back to be implemented in Kent. KMPT, Sing for Your Life and the Sidney De Haan Research Centre also hosted visiting staff from partner organisations.

    The Health and Europe Centre helped KMPT and other Kent partners prepare the bid and provided administrative and project management support.

    The European partners were:

    • SENT – Slovenian Mental Health Association

    • CEPER Almanjayar Cartuja – Adult education college, Granada, Spain

    The project also worked in conjunction with Jyvaskyla Educational Consortium, Finland, although they were unsuccessful in their application for EU funding to be part of this project.

    Kent staff have visited their counterparts in Spain and Slovenia and hosted two visits to Kent. The feedback received from all the visits was that they have been highly successful and that all delegates will be implementing new ideas in their own organisations as a result.  In May 2012 there was a conference held in Canterbury which pulled together all the learning from all the partners and acted as a best practice guide to implementing singing and music as a wellbeing strategy in a variety of different contexts.

    The Grundtvig programme is part of the European Union’s Lifelong Learning Programme and funds training opportunities for UK adult education organisations, staff & learners. It is connected to the wider Erasmus + programme and the experience gained in this project led some of the partners to develop TABLO


    Self Efficacy: An International Literature Review

    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.


    Cross Border Association of Public Health and Social Medicine

    2009 – 2010 This project focused on establishing a cross border Association of Public Health and Social Medicine with colleagues in Kent and Medway and the Somme in France. The cross border Association shared and compared ways of addressing health threats/ challenges, perceptions, community practices and responses to specific health issues – especially in the prevention of long term illnesses and in areas of social exclusion – in children and adults and will also enhance the professional development of participants.

    Project objectives:

    To establish a cross border Association of Public Health and Social Medicine:

    • To improve our mutual understanding of approaches to health, healthcare and the prevention of ill health in the cross border region.
    • To exchange ideas and experiences with a focus on health inequalities and social exclusion
    • Develop terms of reference for the Association
    • Map areas of common practice
    • Identify areas of good practice
    • Explore innovations in practice using common public health data
    • Develop shared practice in enhancing the public health roles of clinical and other professionals, for example, pharmacists
    • Explore and compare policies.


    Bien-être: Healthy Communities

    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.


    Let’s Talk – Teenage Pregnancy

    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.