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Cymraeg

Improving mental health services for homeless people

25 April 2014

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A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between the University and a leading homelessness charity has been given the highest possible rating by the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board.

Awarded to only a small percentage of KTP projects nationwide, the ‘outstanding’ rating signifies the highest quality of collaboration between Llamau Limited and Cardiff University.

Llamau has been providing housing, education, training and support services to homeless young people and vulnerable women in Wales for more than 20 years and initiated the project after discovering research that had been undertaken by Dr Katherine Shelton, School of Psychology and Dr Marianne Van den Bree, School of Medicine, into the underlying risk factors for homelessness experiences among young people. This research had also uncovered the key contributions of early adversity and mental health difficulties. Llamau wanted to apply this new knowledge into their existing methods and techniques, with the objective of improving their service provision.

Part-funded by the Technology Strategy Board, Welsh Government and the Economic and Social Research Council, the project has achieved significant success, with outputs including the development of a mental health bespoke screening tool which helps staff in the early identification of mental health issues amongst service users. The tool also enables the charity to fast track access to support and make meaningful and informed referrals. Other significant outcomes include changes to the company’s assessment and monitoring procedures, staff training and development on mental health issues and successful bids for funding from other charity organisations. The project also developed new assessment techniques employed during the psychiatric interviewing of service users which has saved lives and has the potential to continue to so.

Dr Shelton said: "The opportunity to translate research into practice really shows the capacity for KTP to make a difference. We were really pleased that the success of the collaboration was recognised by the Technology Strategy Board grading our project 'outstanding' and will build on this achievement with a joint funded PhD studentship commencing this September."

Sam Austin, Operational Director, Llamau added:  "The KTP has been a really exciting partnership for Llamau. Working with Cardiff University has enabled us to be an integral part of innovative research looking at the needs of young people who are homeless and translate this into new ways of working with the vulnerable young people we support. These last three years has also allowed us to build a really strong working relationship with the School of Psychology and to plan ways to continue to work together. We are very pleased that the KTP has been so successful and are delighted with the feedback we have had.​"

Paul Thomas, Business Manager, Cardiff University said:  "The grading of ‘outstanding’ goes some way to reflecting the hard work and considerable societal value generated via KTP, by all involved.  This is the second such grading that Cardiff University has received this academic year, which demonstrates that Cardiff University is committed to building and sustaining value-driven collaborative partnerships that deliver real impact and benefit society."  

Cardiff has an impressive portfolio of KTPs and a dedicated KTP Office providing advice, guidance and support to project team members, from inception to completion of each project. They are experts in the management of the application process which is reflected in their high success rate in securing KTP funding. For more information on Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, please contact the team at ktp@cardiff.ac.uk or visit the KTP website.

Related links

School of Psychology

School of Medicine

Llamau

Technology Strategy Board