Sexual Health In the over ForTy-fives (SHIFT) Research Project

A part of the Interreg VA 2Seas programme

Promoting better access to sexual health support and care for older people

SHIFT Interegg 2 Seas logo

Sexual Health In the over ForTy-fives (SHIFT) is part of the Interreg VA 2Seas programme and will run from 1 March 2019 to 30 September 2022. The University of Chichester’s Institute of Sport was awarded funding for the project from the European Regional Development Fund of over €4 million.

SHIFT is led by the Institute of Sport together with the Department of Psychology of the Institute of Education Health and Social Sciences, and also involves partners from the UK, the Netherlands, France and Belgium. This project constitutes a demonstration of the excellent cross-disciplinary and collaborative work fostered and developed by the University of Chichester.

SHIFT project final conference

An interactive day of learning and networking

Thank you all for attending our SHIFT Project Final Conference a couple of weeks ago, whether you joined us in person or online, we were really happy to have you there and we hope you enjoyed the conference.

Hear from SHIFT partners and guest speakers that include:

  • Dr Sharron Hinchliff, Reader in Psychology and Health, University of Sheffield.
  • Prof. Dr. Maria van den Muijsenbergh, Professor of Health Disparities and person-centred integrated care, Chair of European Forum for Primary Care.
  • Prof. Kevin Fenton, Regional Director, Office of Health Improvement and Disparities, Department of Health and Social Care

Discussions includeed:

  • Sexual rights for healthy ageing
  • Shifting services from clinics to communities
  • Encouraging and equipping health and social care professionals to talk about sex.

The presentations from the day are being uploaded to our website: so make sure to check back there very soon for updates.

Wishing you all a wonderful end to 2022,
The SHIFT Project Team


Our outputs

Project Challenge


Studies in/beyond Europe (eg WHO’s Sexual Health Throughout Life) highlight the need for older people to have betteraccess to sexual health support/care. These identify that older age groups are rarely a focus in European & domestic policies across the 2Seas area. The correlation is clear between this gap in services & the rise in Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) rates. The over-45s at risk are generally those entering new sexual relationships after a period of monogamy, often post-menopause (removing the issue of pregnancy, without thought to STIs). Our engagement with relevant services suggests lack of knowledge/tools for health services approaching the issue and offering information/treatment. Within this target group, partner research has shown that groups with one or more socio-economic disadvantages (homeless people/sex workers/non-native language speakers/migrants) are at even greater risk of being unaware of their sexual health and unable to access the appropriate services.

Project Objective

Our goals

The objective of the project is to empower people aged over 45 to participate in sexual health services & improve their sexual health & wellbeing, with an additional and specifically adapted focus on socio-economically disadvantaged groups across the 2Seas area. The empowerment will avoid assumption by using insight gathering & testing existing evidence. In co-creating a service redesign, the healthcare systems currently in place will be adapted to provide services that are properly suited to these groups. Consequently, SHIFT will improve awareness in the target groups and access to sexual health services, therefore increasing wellbeing, testing for STIs and HIV & avoidance of undiagnosed communicable STIs & HIV amongst the over 45s and socio-economically disadvantaged groups. This will lead to improving the quality of life of people aged over 45 (with specific focus on vulnerable groups) & a decrease in health inequalities.

Project Partnership

Meet the Team

The SHIFT Project Partnership includes Kent County Council, East Sussex County Council, Medway Council (all UK), and Kent Community Hospitals Trust (KCHFT) and Metro Charity (UK), SoSAIDS Charity (Netherlands), and University of Antwerp (Belgium) and Odisee University (Belgium).

In addition to our staff listed below, our team members include Dr. Ruth Lowry (

University of Chichester Staff

Ian Tyndall

Reader in Cognitive Psychology

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Mike Lauder

Director of the Chichester Institute of Sport, Nursing and Allied Health, Professor of Sports Biomechanics & Cross-Institutional Lead for Health

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Professor Antonina Pereira

Professor of Neuropsychology and Neuroscience; Director of the Institute of Psychology, Business and Human Sciences

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Moitree Banerjee

Head of Psychology and Criminology/ Reader in Clinical Psychology.

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Victoria Giacomelli

Research Assistant Health and Wellbeing

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Izzy Ball

Lecturer in Psychology; Research Assistant in Health and Wellbeing; PhD Student

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SHIFT: Live Panel

Watch Metro's Live Panel on the SHIFT Project

Metro Charity in London, one of the SHIFT Project partners, hosted a Facebook and Youtube live Panel Discussion event with Amanda Jeffrey (Metro, host), Dr. Mun Yee Tung (Kent Community Hospitals Foundation Trust), Steve Chevis (Medway Council), Ross Bosely (East Sussex Council), and Dr. Ian Tyndall and Tess Hartland (University of Chichester, Project Evaluation partners in December 2020 to present the core mission, values, and initial research findings with respect to enhancing sexual health and wellbeing of people over 45 and vulnerable groups. A YouTube recording of the panel discussion can be found below.

SHIFT: Talking about sexual health and well-being for people Over 45
Watch METRO's live panel from 11 December 2020.

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