University of East London: ICC leads on new global research

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The University’s Institute of Connected Communities (ICC) is carrying out a number of new research projects providing valuable research for local, national and international communities, including in Africa.

Led by Dr Darren Sharpe, deputy director for the ICC, and a UCL CAPE policy fellow linked to Newham Council, the new research projects cover a number of areas including health, internet safety, education and learning, community policing and unregulated housing.


Youth Safeguarding Network in Africa
Dr Sharpe has just returned from an ethnographic field trip to Maputo, Mozambique, which was an opportunity to build partnerships and expand the ICC-led Youth Safeguarding Network (YSN) across Africa, with community organisations empowering vulnerable women, children, disabled and migrants to create change for their communities.

Over the last two years, the ICC has collaborated with NGOs and academics in Zambia, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Rwanda to protect the most vulnerable from online and offline harm and is now looking for new partners to join YSN in the era of the Covid-19 recovery.

The recent visit included witnessing a music therapy group for children with behavioural management problems, a knowledge exchange with the British Embassy, Save the Children and Good Will, and also meetings with an Infectious Disease and Internal Medicine specialist to learn more about how HIV and AIDS has impacted the lives of children and young people.

Dr Sharpe said, “The three-week visit was very successful and we helped secure four new partners, and identified new routes to future funding, following the end of the UKRI Global Challenges Research Funding.”


Diabetes Transition Support for Children Young People
Dr Sharpe is now working with Ipsos Mori to advise on a new National Institute of Health Research study looking at a pilot Diabetes Transition clinic for young people across the UK. Dr Sharpe will also support a Diabetes UK research steering group for children and young people to help guide national practice on what diabetic children and young people need to support their self-care.


Dudley Council Community Policing Continued Professional Development (CPD) work
Dr Sharpe has led on audio training for community police offers in the West Midlands to increase awareness of the challenges faced by those living in supported accommodation. The training accompanies the Dudley-supported housing kite mark co-developed with Alan Chandler, interim dean of research in the School of Architecture, Computing and Engineering, which the ICC has also worked on and is due to be rolled out over the Autumn.


Mapping Mentoring Support for London’s Young People
Dr Sharpe and Dr Paul Adams (acting head of early childhood & education, Educom) are leading a new study on behalf of the Mayor of London.

It will map the mentoring support for young people across London to help shape and inform
The New Deal for Young People
, as part of the Covid-19-recovery.

The research will map and evaluate the impact that Covid-19 has had on young people’s mentoring needs.

It will include recommendations on how to sustain the success and learning from existing mentoring services and provide London Research and Policy Partnership with a sustainable approach to working with providers and young people more widely to help them in their transition into meaningful work and/or training.

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