Special Kent Alumni Survey – The 2015 General Election

We at the University of Kent are carrying out a study of social and political attitudes in the run-up to the General Election. As part of the 50th Anniversary Celebrations of the University of Kent we are inviting all our UK-based alumni to give their views on the current political situation in the UK as well as issues that affect Kent particularly, and aspects of the wider international context.

The Kent Election Studies survey is being conducted by Professor Dominic Abrams and colleagues from the School of Psychology.

This election is unique in living memory because the outcome is so uncertain and the balance of power could be shared in so many different ways. It is an ideal moment to conduct research on political change. Unlike a regular opinion poll, this survey is a more detailed study of how and why people are forming their political views.

As well as a prize draw (there are 20 £50 Amazon vouchers to be won) participants will also receive a report of the key findings from the research, and it will be fascinating to see how our Kent Alumni of all backgrounds are viewing the current political situation in the UK.

The survey takes 20-30 minutes to complete and we hope very much that as many of our Alumni as possible will have completed it before the end of next Wednesday.

To take the survey please click on the link below:

Developing and expanding the Kent Adult Research Unit

Congratulations to Hannah Swift (PI), Ruth Lamont (Co-I) and Amanda Bates (CHSS Co-I), who have been awarded £1,700 by the PVC (Research) for their application to the Public Engagement with Research Fund.

The funding application was entitled “Developing and Expanding the Kent Adult Research Unit to Enhance Public Engagement with Research”. This secures the licence for the KARU sona-systems for another year and will support the promotion, public engagement and wider use of KARU.

Kent researchers identify need for loneliness ‘maps’

New research from the University of Kent has identified the need for loneliness ‘maps’ to help charities and public services support those experiencing, or at risk of, loneliness.

The research underpins a new report published on 8 April by the Campaign to End Loneliness. Titled Hidden Citizens: how can we identify the most lonely older adults?, the report suggests that local services and councils use existing data to predict where the most lonely and isolated residents live – allowing limited resources to be targeted at the people and places that need them most.

Dr Adrian Adams, of the University’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research and Dr Hannah Swift, of the School of Psychology – co-authors of the report with Anna Goodman, of the Campaign to End Loneliness – found that a person can experience loneliness because of a variety of reasons. These can range from the loss of a loved one to the need to become a carer – or from living in an urban area with high population turnover to finding yourself in an area with limited public transport.

The researchers found in particular that addressing loneliness requires better understanding of, and engagement with, local communities by agencies. Services also need to communicate, collaborate and cooperate more effectively with each other if the most lonely older people are to be identified, reached and supported.

The Campaign to End Loneliness suggests that loneliness and isolation are as harmful to our long-term health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and that people experiencing severe loneliness may visit their GP more often, and enter residential care earlier. The new Care Act, which came into force on 1 April, now places a responsibility on councils to address loneliness and isolation.

Hidden Citizens: how can we identify the most lonely older adults? is available to view here from 8 April: http://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org/