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Two old armchairs at the Potager garden in Cornwall


Research has always been important to us and we work with a range of research partners. Research helps identify priority needs and work out the best way of addressing them.

All aspects of our work are informed by research, some that we undertake ourselves, and some with third parties. Our longstanding connections with research specialists have resulted in a rich mix of research and evaluation work and this has helped us test, measure and review our ideas and approaches.

Research helps us to ensure that we are doing the right work, in the right places with the right people.

Research comes in all shapes and sizes

Our own research helps us prioritise new work. It can identify gaps in social need so that our project work delivers the greatest benefit and avoids duplicating existing services.

By partnering with research experts, we can validate our approach and tap into a wider national and international knowledge base.

What does research say about sensory engagement?

Sensory engagement lies at the heart of much of our work and we are keen to deepen the evidence base showing the health benefits that come from this approach. It was therefore a welcome opportunity to collaborate with specialist researchers from the European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH) and the Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care South West Peninsula (Pen-CLAHRC) on a systematic review.

The aim was to assess the health and wellbeing benefits of outdoor sensory experiences to help us understand how older people, including those living with dementia describe their sensory engagement with nature and the natural environment.

The review was led by the Centre's specialists in systematic reviews and qualitative research, Dr Ruth Garside and Dr Noreen Orr.

Through working together we hope to make a contribution to research in health and social science and to establish a deeper evidence base to inform professional practice.

The review has been jointly published and is available to read now at Bio Med Central - How do older people describe their sensory experiences of the natural world? A systematic review of the qualitative evidence.

Visual impairment and the natural world

The Sensing nature project focused on the value of nature experiences for people with visual impairments. This is an important piece of research to put the value of nature on people with visual impairments and capture their perspectives on the barriers and opportunities that relate to enjoying the outdoors. By being involved in the project design we have been able to benefit from the findings in order to better inform our practice. Research with partners is always a beneficial two-way street.

Inclusivity project

We are on the advisory board for the Inclusivity project, a European funded project addressing diversity in the workplace. The project aims to see more disabled people employed by small and micro businesses in Cornwall.

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