Care-Connect enters into impact fellowship agreement with Age UK

Image of Vinal K Karania and Andrea WigfieldResearch and innovation hub Care-Connect has entered into a positive agreement with leading ageing charity Age UK in which members from each body will act as impact fellows for one another to reach shared goals around wellbeing in later life.

Dr Andrea Wigfield, Director of Care-Connect, has become an Impact Fellow of Age UK and in return, Vinal K Karania, Research and Evaluation Manager of Age UK, has become an Impact Fellow of Care-Connect.

Care-Connect - the co-produced research and innovation hub based at the University of Sheffield which aims to support people to live well and age well - began a collaborative working relationship with Age UK in 2014, having a positive impact on Age UK as an organisation and in turn, older people that the charity works with every day.

Throughout the last four years, Andrea Wigfield and Dr Sarah Alden of Care-Connect have worked with Age UK, in particular Vinal K Karania, on bids for research projects and PhD studentships and discrete projects, predominantly in the areas of loneliness and social isolation. More recently, they have submitted a journal article on the topic of meaningful interaction and investigated the risk factors to social isolation and loneliness. Care-Connect and Age UK have recently launched a campaign to highlight the joint work they are carrying out on loneliness. They will be jointly publishing a research briefing on a different aspect of loneliness for each month in 2018 and hosting four policy briefing events throughout the year.

For this reason, it has been agreed that the collaboration between Age UK and Care-Connect should be more formally reflected. This has resulted in Vinal being bestowed the title of Impact Fellow for Care-Connect in recognition of the volume and quality of work that he undertakes in partnership with the University of Sheffield. Andrea Wigfield has also been bestowed the title of Impact fellow for Age UK in recognition of the volume and quality of work that she undertakes in partnership with Age UK.

As Impact Fellows, Andrea and Vinal will continue to work closely to ensure a continuous flow of high-quality research that positively impacts the lives of older people in the UK. And in the process, solidify an important link between academia and Age UK.

Andrea said: “The title of Age UK Impact Fellow is a huge privilege. I have worked closely with Age UK, both nationally and locally, for the last few years and this agreement enables us to strengthen even further the impact of the research that we carry out here at the University.”