PhD researchers tackle social isolation and loneliness in the city

Earlier this year, our Doctoral College was approached by the West Indian Senior Citizens Project (WISCP), asking if some of our doctoral and early career researchers would present their findings as part of the WISCP Awareness and Wellbeing Week. WISCP is a charity that has been running for over 30 years. It aims to reduce and combat social isolation and loneliness in Leicester’s 50+ community. 

Over the course of a two-week period, our researchers Karen Appiah, Lucy Beishon and Victoria McGowan presented their research to a lay audience to promote awareness of health issues. 

This is not the first time our researchers have involved the local community. Many of them had previously presented as part of our Lunchtime Lectures - where Leicester researchers speak to audiences at the central Adult Education Learning Centre in Belvoir Street.

Karen, who spoke on ‘Blood Pressure Variability in Acute Stroke’ said: “I particularly enjoyed how interactive the attendees were, especially as my topic involved the conditions and diseases that has affected them directly or their close family. It was also a great opportunity to introduce our research practices and findings to the wider public, and have discussions with them about our contributions. It’ll be good for us to develop a relationship with WISCP as this is a subgroup within the population who will benefit greatly from our continuous engagement with them.”

Pershanna Ward, WISCP Administrator added: “WISCP would like to thank the University of Leicester, its staff and its researchers for their contributions during our Week of Wellbeing. Part of our mission during the week was to raise awareness around issues that affect the African-Caribbean community such as stroke, high blood pressure, and dementia. Thanks to the University of Leicester (who delivered over 30% of the week's activities), we were able to deliver talks that engaged our attendees and hopefully continued the conversation within the community on these important issues.”

Professor Dave Lambert, Doctoral College Director, said: “Getting out there and communicating our research widely is critical to our institutional standing in the community, but also a key skill for all budding researchers. It is fantastic to see early career researchers come forward and speak to the communities around us about what they are doing.”