17 May 2010

Improving lives of vulnerable people

The University has joined forces with Tendring District Council to help improve the lives of vulnerable people living in houses of multiple occupation in Pier Ward, Clacton.

The Knowledge Transfer Project involves academics from the University’s School of Health and Human Sciences (HHS) working in partnership with the Council, and other agencies including Essex County Council, North East Essex Primary Care Trust and North Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to develop more effective ways to support agencies working together.

The purpose of this flagship project is to improve social and environmental conditions for vulnerable people living in houses of multiple occupation. The focus will mainly be on people who have mental health issues, some with very complex needs, living in Pier Ward in Clacton town centre.

One of Tendring District Council’s priorities is to ensure a safe and clean environment, with decent housing and better public spaces for residents of Tendring. This project will support the Council’s commitment to improve the individual quality of life of residents of the area.

Currently, support for these vulnerable residents is provided by a number of different organisations who recognise that working together can deliver many additional benefits. The aim of the project is to bring organisations together to share data so clients get the best support, tailored to their individual needs.

The project, being led and supervised by the University’s Director of Research at HHS, Professor Gill Green, and Dr Barry Tolchard, will run for 27 months and involve up to 1,000 vulnerable people living in Clacton. By improving communications and sharing information between agencies, it is hoped they will be able to better identify and respond to the needs of vulnerable residents.

Commenting on the partnership, Professor Green said: ‘We are delighted this project will support the central mission of the School of Health and Human Sciences to make a difference by working with public services to improve the experience of service users.
‘By enhancing joint working arrangements between partner agencies, it will make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of vulnerable people living in houses of multiple occupation.’

Councillor Steven Henderson, Tendring District Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said that this is a very much needed area of work to be addressed.

‘It will provide great benefits to the quality of life of those people who are perhaps the most disadvantaged group in society,’ he said.

‘The bringing together of the various agencies together with the HMO providers is just the first step in what it is hoped will be a long and fruitful relationship that delivers very tangible benefits to those most in need.’

Note to Editors:
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) is a UK-wide programme enabling businesses to improve their competitiveness, productivity and performance. KTP is a part-funded Government project which forms partnerships between businesses and academic institutions to work on a project which is of strategic importance to the organisation.

KTP is a Technology Strategy Board programme, enabling innovation in business. The University of Essex is a participant KTP Knowledge Base providing expertise and resources to businesses via a strategic project.

Find out more www.ktponline.org.uk

For further information or to interview Professor Gill Green please contact the University Communications Office on 01206 872400 or e-mail comms@essex.ac.uk.
To interview Steven Henderson at Tendring District Council please contact Nigel Brown on 01255 686338 or e-mail nbrown@tendringdc.gov.uk

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