In summer 2020, the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) KSS announced a funding call focused on tackling COVID-19. A key objective was to enable research to feed into system-wide transformation and reset/recovery planning across the region.

Researchers were invited to submit proposals that met the needs being expressed by the system and which supported meaningful public engagement in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. A total of nine projects were selected to receive funding.

Community voices

The findings from the research enable the voices of several different communities to be heard more clearly. By giving voice to their experiences, challenges and needs – and with lockdown returning to England – the findings can be used to inform the system’s ongoing response to COVID-19.

Joining the dots

Taken together, the findings provide valuable insight into the impact of COVID-19, and the extent to which the system’s response has been able to support some of the more vulnerable communities across Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

ARC KSS COVID-19 research areas

The following studies were approved by ARC KSS in summer 2020:
How can services best support care leavers to move on after lockdown? Co-produced guidance produced by care leavers for care leavers and leaving care staff.
• How has COVID-19 affected the quality of life, wellbeing, and care of people diagnosed with dementia and their family carers?
• How can a community-based volunteer workforce be rapidly and safely implemented, and what is their impact on providing support for self-isolating and vulnerable members of the community during this pandemic?
• Development and implementation of a living resource to support BAME communities through the life of COVID-19.
• Rapid research into the mental health impacts of COVID-19 among children, young people (CYP) and their families in high-risk groups and hard-to-reach rural and coastal communities.
• How can community-based care settings for individuals vulnerable to COVID-19 mortality be supported in receiving returning or new clients?
• Zoom or Room: effectiveness and guidance for person vs online video interaction guidance session (for young people with an Autism Spectrum Condition).
• The ‘remote memory clinic’: responding to real clinical need in times of COVID-19 restrictions. Exploring satisfaction and impact on clinical outcomes related to dementia diagnosis.
• Scalable solutions for reprocessing of respiratory masks to protect health workers during COVID-19.

For more information

Kath Sykes, Living Well with Dementia Implementation Lead
Sam Fraser, Primary Care and Community Health Services Implementation Lead
Becky Sharp, Social Care Implementation Lead
Becca Randell, Starting Well Implementation Lead