USW Impact and INnovation Awards and HEA Group nominated award for USW 'The Kegie Centre for Therapies: a collaborative approach'

  • Judith Mulcahy (Participant)

Impact: Social impacts

Description of impact

Five years ago, there was a local need for a high quality counselling service for vulnerable groups in Newport. This coincided with our desire to deepen our links with community partners, our commitment to be the university of and for our community, a need to refresh the curriculum in line with the University’s employability commitment and dwindling placement opportunities providing a unique opportunity to create something innovative. As highly experienced clinicians/academics, the original team recognised the potential to create curricula and learning spaces that not only provided in-house placement opportunities, but also
• Linked learning and teaching, clinical practice and research in a meaningful way
• Established a collaborative approach with students and the community at its core, and
• Created a purpose built integrative space on campus.
Central to our ambition was the creation and development of a truly collaborative project team: staff, students, clinicians and community partners, using stakeholder and service user forums throughout the design and implementation of the clinic. This team successfully bid for a Big Lottery grant and set up a community counselling clinic in partnership with local organisations. Using this grant and subsequent contracts from statutory and Third sector organisations the clinic has responded to the needs of local people and managed to become self sustaining.
The move from Caerleon to Newport in 2016 afforded a unique opportunity to create a purpose built integrated space. We used a CELT grant to research the best way to set this up, using a Phd student to run focus groups to gather opinions from staff, students and community partners and a large timetabling and resource mapping to win the support of corporate and executive departments across the university . The result is the Kegie Centre for Therapies, a community-based counselling provision housed in a purpose built, integrated space on a city-based campus in Newport affording students and vulnerable service-users maximum opportunities for wellbeing, learning, and employability enhancement. Over the last five years, over 1000 clients have received counselling and therapy, including asylum seekers and refugees, carers, those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds and those with mental health difficulties. 85% of all clients using a raft of evidence based outcome measures reported a significant improvement in their wellbeing. Some mentioned that their self esteem had been improved by knowing they were part of the students’ learning. One client reported ‘hearing themselves for the first time’ and another, ‘Words cannot fully articulate the impact your service has had on me during the most nightmarish period of my life’. This impact has been alongside that of impact on the employability of the student trainees which has been significantly enhanced, leading to jobs at a high level of the therapy market. We were also able to recruit the Welsh Government’s principal advisor for therapies as keynote at the recent opening of the Kegie centre, firmly establishing USW as the centre of excellence in therapeutic training and delivery in Wales.

How did your research contribute?

The Kegie centre offers therapeutic interventions to service users from statutory and Third sector organisations who would otherwise probably never have accessed such support. This support has changed lives locally, raised the profile of USW enhanced partnership between USW and local organisations and contributed to the regeneration of Newport at NCC. Posters and presentations have been presented at national conferences and several journal articles have been published. Future regional impact of the project will hopefully be enabled by the awarding of a second major grant from the Big Lottery, allowing us to deliver a two-part counselling and resilience building service to the Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (VAWDASV) sector across South Wales. A further outcome of this project will be to produce a Best Practice Model for work in this sector. Other bids are being prepared as USW Therapy becomes the centre of excellence in therapy training and delivery of services in Wales, including a joint bid to Comic Relief with the Sanctuary Project to deliver services to refugees and asylum seekers

Who is affected?

1000 clients from Newport and the surrounding area have received counselling, art or music therapy in the clinic over the last five years. 6248 sessions of therapy in total have been completed; there have been paid opportunities for 11 previous volunteers in the project and placements for 117 students across the Therapeutic Studies area. The establishment of the Kegie centre for Therapies and of USW Therapy has been the culmination of five years of work between course teams, clinicians and partners in the statutory and Third sectors locally.The use of a collaborative model has transformed student learning but also the way in which the university is perceived locally and how it works collaboratively with external partners. Employability of students has been significantly enhanced as evidenced by a former student and employee, now working for high intensity IAPT services in England: ”I outperformed four hundred candidates in a crucial job interview because of the experience of working with a variety of clients and a very rare opportunity to conduct research in the clinic.”
Impact date1 May 201730 Jun 2017
Category of impactSocial impacts
Impact levelIn progress