The Department of Government has formed a partnership with local authorities in England and France to deliver the Interreg France (Channel) England Connected Communities project, funded by the European Regional Development Fund. This €6.75m project is co-financed with European Regional Development Funding through the Interreg France Channel England Programme. The project will receive €4.63 million in co-financing over four years.
The Connected Communities project will contribute to addressing the societal challenge of loneliness and isolation by developing innovative Social Prescribing Plus solutions, adapting access to health and social services for people 60 and over. Solutions will focus on early intervention and prevention activities to help prolong autonomy and improve the health and well-being of an ageing population.
With local authority UK partners Suffolk, East Suffolk, Medway, and Kent, and France partners Manche, Oise, Seine Maritime, and Eure, the University of Essex ARISE Team will lead evaluation, dissemination, and integration for the Connected Communities project. We will gather, analyse and share evidence, data and materials about asset-based and collaborative approaches to health and social care and the impact that they have on health and wellbeing, as well as loneliness, connectedness, social isolation, and trust. Our research will identify the key components and features of Social Prescribing Plus and Connected Communities, as well as their relationship to and the systemic impact that they have on health and social care systems and resources, voluntary sector organisations, and communities.
The ARISE Initiative, founded and led by Dr Gina Yannitell Reinhardt, specialises in evaluating the impact of public services on community resilience. We provide employee training and professional development across a range of evaluation disciplines, and help you use your own data to find insights that inform future decision-making. Under the HEFCE-funded Catalyst Project, our team developed the Spotlight Toolkit to help public and third-sector organisations design their own evaluations. Our expertise is already helping national, regional, and local organisations evaluate the impact of their interventions, analyse their spend, and prioritise their resources for the future.
Evaluation DirectorDepartment of Government, University of Essex
Gina leads the team to identify and evaluate the impact of the Connected Communities project. Her interdisciplinary research draws on public policy, political economy, and environmental and disaster studies. Her recent evaluation work includes social prescribing and Local Area Coordination programmes, as well as data sharing programmes designed to build resilience, improve sexual health and education, enhance school readiness, and reduce domestic violence.
Senior ResearcherDepartment of Government, University of Essex
Dragana is responsible for providing input on data collection protocols, assisting with designing and conducting project impact evaluation, producing high quality publications in internationally recognised and reputable journals,and presenting project findings and impact of the Connected Communities Project within and outside of academic settings. Her research interests are political participation, identity politics, public health, and evidence-based policy making.