NEWS23 February 2024

Research project marrying creative sector with homelessness sector awarded £1.4 million by UKRI

Healthcare News Public Sector

UK – Researchers looking to transform the support of homeless people by using creative health approaches such as crafts and sports have been awarded £1.4 million by UK Research and Innovation.


Led by Northumbria University, the three-year project aims to better connect the care system and expand it to include creative health approaches such as arts, crafts, sports, gardening or cooking to provide holistic support tailored to individuals.

The project aims to plug a hole as currently support services are not always integrated and often try to address in isolation the issues which can contribute to homelessness – such as abuse, trauma, addiction and mental or physical health challenges.

However, professor Monique Lhussier, one of the lead investigators of the research from Northumbria, says these complex and varied health and social care needs can rarely be treated in isolation

“When available, support for homeless people is often only for a short time, not coordinated with other services and fails to meet all of a person’s needs,” said professor Lhussier, a social scientist with expertise in marginalisation, welfare and wellbeing.

The project aims to grow the care system, so it includes creative health approaches, with the research informed and guided by people recruited as experts by experience.

“This is about working in direct and equal collaboration with people who have experienced homelessness so that all people can have access to the support they need, when they need it, and in the way they need it,” added professor Lhussier.

“What we want all support services to be working collectively on is enabling that growth for each individual. To be thinking about people in terms of their future potential rather than as a list of problems that can’t be figured out.”

Driven by six key organisations – Tyne Housing, Groundswell, Alphabetti Theatre, Art Gene, Chilli Studios and Helix Arts – a network of housing providers, arts organisations and healthcare services from across the North East and Cumbria will participate in the project. 

In addition, the research will also be supported by two regional community interest companies, Media Savvy and Roots and Wings design, making the project highly collaborative and grounded within the kinds of organisations it aims to engage.

The project aims to develop a model which supports the move from siloed working and crisis management to collaborative partnerships for early intervention and prevention. 

The project will inform the development of an evidence-based regional policy for homelessness and a website featuring details of all support services available in one place.