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'Lonely people need more support' - researchers' study

Researchers call for more support for lonely people

Researchers at the University of Kent say that councils and health trusts should work together to identify and help lonely people.

In a new report published this week, the 'Campaign to End Loneliness' suggests that feeling isolated can be as harmful to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and that people who are experiencing severe loneliness may visit their GP more often, and enter residential care earlier.

The group is calling for authorities to use existing data to locate the most lonely or isolated residents - through 'loneliness maps' - so they can be offered the appropriate support services.

University of Kent awarded £3.5 million for 'world-leading' research

The University of Kent has been given a multi-million pound grant to carry out research at their School of Biosciences.

The £3.5 million will help scientists to look into creating cells with an enhanced utility, which could go towards improvements in medicine and industry.

The money will go towards funding 'cutting-edge' research Credit: PA

It is one of five universities to be given the grant by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, which recognises 'world-leading' projects .

Other universities awarded the grant are Oxford University, the University of Manchester and the University of Glasgow.

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Stars to get honorary degrees from University of Kent

ITV star Harry Hill and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig are among those receiving honorary degrees from the University of Kent this month.

Both will become Doctors of Arts.

ITV's Harry Hill has been named as one star to get an honorary degree Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Harry was brought up in the county and trained as a surgeon before turning to comedy.

He used to host Harry Hills TV Burps on ITV and also narrates on You've Been Framed.

Broadcaster Sandi Toksvig will receive an honorary degree from the University of Kent Credit: Suzan/Suzan/EMPICS Entertainment

Sandi worked on the children's programme No 73, produced by Meridian's forerunner TVS.

New research to help autistic children communicate

Video. Imagine your child not ever being able to really talk to you. That is what the families of those with autism often face. But now new research from the University of Kent could be able to change that for the better.

Pioneering work carried out at several special schools across the country resulted in significant improvements in the way autistic children responded to the world around them.

One third of pupils showed improvements in the way they communicated with others.

Many more saw a reduction in autistic symptoms. Researchers will officially release the findings soon but Christine Alsford has this exclusive report.

She spoke to Gillian Burns, Kieran's mother, Professor Nicola Shaughnessy from Imagining Autism Project and Lisa Richardson from the University of Kent.

New figures reveal extent of cybercrime

Many Britons have suffered from criminal activity online Credit: PA Wire

Kent University has revealed new figures to show the extent to which cybercrime affects people in the UK.

Nearly one in five people have had their online accounts hacked with some people losing more than £10,000 due to criminal activity.

The findings are part of a Survey on Cyber Security, which revealed that despite the minority being affected by online crime, those that were suffered considerable losses.

Dr Julio Hernandez-Castro, from the Centre for Cyber Security, said:

"These up-to-date survey results on how cybercrime is affecting British citizens will undermine some misconceptions and make it easier to understand where to best focus our research efforts for designing new solutions to combat cybercrime."

  1. David Johns (@davidjohns_itv)

New life for radio telescope

A group of students from Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys in Canterbury is to restore an ancient radio telescope and use it to study the sun.

David Johns reports, talking to John Batchelor from the University of Kent, students Theodorakis Dimitrios & James Hylands, plus scientist Dr Geoff Macdonald and teacher Becky Parker

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Students restore radio telescope

It was the height of technological expertise in the 1960s, but has lain derelict for years.

Radio satellite Credit: ITV News Meridian

Now, despite being overgrown, rusting and covered in moss, a radio telescope at the University of Kent is to have new life breathed into it by 'A' level students at a local school.

A-Level students from Simon Langton Grammar inspect the telescope Credit: ITV News Meridian

The pupils at Simon Langton Grammar want to restore the telescope and peer into the distant reaches of our universe.

Dr Geoff MacDonald from the University of Kent said "It can be refurbished certainly and now days its is actually easier to do radio astronomy in an amateur way than it was forty years ago because of the good quality of receivers, especially thanks to the development of satellite TV".