Summary of SOAP’s community engagement event: Back from the Brink: Research and Practice in Addressing Homelessness

Summary of SOAP’s community engagement event: Back from the Brink: Research and Practice in Addressing Homelessness

The School of Applied Psychology in association with Cork Simon Community hosted the first event in UCC’s 2017 Community Engagement week which kicked off with Dr Sharon Lambert’s organised event entitled ‘Back from the Brink: Research and Practice in Addressing Homelessness’. The half-day symposium ran from 9am till 1.30pm and concluded with a light lunch and discussion with delegates in the CACSSS seminar room. Sixty-five practitioners and research delegates attended the seven talks with one talk being Skyped in from Dublin.


Dr Dermot Kavanagh (Director of Cork Simon Community)

Speakers included Dr Dermot Kavanagh (Director of Cork Simon Community) who opened the session reminding delegates of the importance of research- and practice-led initiatives in homelessness and how crucial awareness is in helping to develop guiding policy for homeless people. Dr Steven Sharman, a research fellow at the University of Lincoln who works extensively in gambling and homelessness presented with a talk entitled ‘Gambling and homelessness: tackling a hidden addition’; Dr Annamarie Naughton (GP) and Graham Gill-Emerson (addiction counsellor) presented their findings on the ‘Cork Simon ACE study’; Dr Sharon Lambert (UCC) and Dr Aidan Horan (HSE) presented on ‘Trauma-informed care models of research and practice’; Dr Raegan Murphy (UCC) presented on ‘Gambling and violence in a nationally representative sample of UK Men’; Dr Austin O’Carroll (SafetyNet Ireland) Skyped in from Dublin with a talk on ‘Medicine on the margins: why homeless people do not attend health services’ and the day concluded with a talk given by Dr Nadia Pantidi focussing on ‘Theory to practice: service design in the real world’.


Dr Nadia Pantidi giving her talk on ‘Theory to practice: service design in the real world’

The symposium also launched the results of a research project conducted by Dr Lambert, Dr Horan, Graham Gill-Emerson and Dr Annamarie Naughton entitled ‘Moving towards trauma informed care. A model of research and practice’ (July, 2017).

The organisers would like to extend their thanks to the School of Applied Psychology who generously funded the event as well as to student volunteers who were most needed during the day. Also, a big thank you to all the delegates, many of whom travelled considerable distances to share the day with researchers and practitioners. For far too long, marginalised people existing at the extremes of life are systematically yet unintentionally excluded from front-line services. To address the varied and manifold reasons behind this distressing trend, researchers, practitioners and front-line staff came together to initiate a discussion at a broader level. We hope that by taking small steps, like holding a half-day symposium, we can create a more inclusive and tolerant service delivery programme throughout the country.

Post by Dr Raegan Murphy and Dr Sharon Lambert