Press Office


VIPs visit Newcastle Initiative on Changing Age


There’s been national recognition of the University’s profile and research excellence in the field of ageing in two visits by high profile guests.

Tom Wright CBE, Chief Executive of Age UK visits the Newcastle Initiative on Changing Age on Friday 15th June 2012!

On Friday 15th of June, the Newcastle Initiative on Changing Age hosted a visit from Tom Wright CBE, the Chief Executive of national Age UK, at the Campus for Ageing and Vitality.  Age UK is a leading UK charity, officially launched in 2009 from a partnership between Age Concern England and Help the Aged, which is working to improve later life for everyone by providing a range of services and support including information and advice, campaigns, products, training and research.  The visit of its Chief Executive to Newcastle University signals a national recognition of the University’s profile and research excellence in the field of ageing, which led to ageing becoming the University’s first societal challenge theme.

Age UK is working in partnership with the University to disseminate the findings of the University’s important 85+ research project, which provides much needed new understanding of the needs and capabilities of the oldest old.  The purpose of the visit was to discuss future opportunities for closer collaboration between Newcastle University and Age UK nationally and during his visit Tom Wright met with the Vice-Chancellor Professor Chris Brink, the Pro-Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Medical Sciences Professor Chris Day and Professor Tom Kirkwood, Associate Dean for Ageing, along with members of the Changing Age support team.

The Changing Age programme of engagement activity includes highly active links to many of the region’s local Age UK organisations, each a business in its own right.  The Chief Executives from many of these attended a networking lunch at the Biomedical Research Building, which was followed by presentations from four key areas of project activity; Digital Inclusion: Social Inclusion through the Digital Economy, Professor Paul Watson; The Oldest Old – the Newcastle 85+ Study, Dr Joanna Collerton; Culture and Ageing, Professor Eric Cross; Assistive Technology Business Models, Professor Peter Gore. 

The meeting identified a number of potential opportunities for collaboration between Age UK and the University.  These will be worked on over the summer, for further discussion when Tom Wright makes a return visit to the North East, early in the next academic year.

Simon Denegri, NIHR National Director for Public Participation and Engagement in Research and Chair of INVOLVE visits the Faculty of Medical Science, Newcastle University on Monday 18th June 2012

Simon Denegri is the Chair of INVOLVE, an organisation supporting public involvement in NHS, public health and social care research, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and NIHR National Director for Public Participation and Engagement. The Newcastle Initiative on Changing Age invited Simon to Newcastle to highlight innovation and good practice in research engagement activity at the University and in the wider city, and was delighted to host his visit on 18th June.

During his visit Simon met with Professor Tom Kirkwood, Associate Dean for Ageing, Dr Lynne Corner Director of Engagement for Changing Age, Professor Richard Thomson, FMS Associate Dean for Patient and Public for Involvement, and Dr Mark Jarvis, Manager of Newcastle’s NIHR Biomedical Research Centre and Biomedical Research Unit, to learn more about the innovative work on public engagement being undertaken in Newcastle. He discussed his role and set out his vision for patient and public involvement in the NHS, public health and social care research.

In the afternoon, Simon was joined by about 70 members of VOICE North (Newcastle University’s North East Research and Public Engagement Panel) and of the Stroke and the Dementia and Neuro-degenerative Disease Clinical Research Networks’ patient engagement groups, for a question and answer session chaired by Dr Lynne Corner, Director of Engagement for the Newcastle Initiative on Changing Age and a member of INVOLVE.

Members of the public raised with Simon a number of challenges and opportunities for public engagement in research which included the importance of feedback from researchers to volunteers on the findings and impact of research and the importance of engaging a wider diversity of the public, including those community groups who are not currently well represented in research.  Simon committed to feeding back the comments and suggestions of the public present at the event to influence national efforts to improve patient and public engagement in research.

Photograph features Tom Wright, Chief Executive of Age UK with the Vice-Chancellor Prof Chris Brink

Submitted by the Changing Age team

published on: 22 June 2012