SHIFT – Sexual Health In the over ForTy-fives was part of the Interreg VA 2Seas programme and ran from 1st March 2019 to the 31st March 2023.

To access all project resources, including evaluation reports, go to:

It received funding from the European Regional Development Fund, had a budget of over €4 million and involved partners from the UK, the Netherlands, France and Belgium. (See below for partner details).

SHIFT empowered 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 helped avoid assumption by using insight gathering & testing existing evidence. In co-creating a service redesign, the healthcare systems currently in place were adapted to provide services that are properly suited to these groups. Consequently, SHIFT improved 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 led to improving the quality of life of people aged over 45 (with specific focus on vulnerable groups) & a decrease in health inequalities.

SHIFT delivered a co-created & piloted model for future service provision to improve sexual health amongst the target groups, including techniques for engaging with hard-to-reach groups. A model was designed for people aged over 45 using a confidential web-based process to self-assess/be advised on next steps, but co-creation ensured those less at ease with technology were fully engaged with the model. Using partner expertise, and by identifying organisations who work directly with socio-economically disadvantaged groups, the model was adapted to reach these groups. Mobile units accessed homeless people and others who do not/cannot access local public health services. Services are multilingual and culturally/subject sensitive to reach groups such as migrants and sex workers. SHIFT also delivered a jointly produced & piloted training programme relevant to all parts of the 2Seas area, based on extensive engagement with healthcare professionals, implemented via existing services.

The Health and Europe Centre was the Lead Partner working with:

  • Kent County Council (UK)

  • Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (UK)

  • Metro Charity (UK)

  • East Sussex County Council (UK)

  • University of Chichester (UK)

  • Medway Council (UK)


  • Antwerp University college of Applied Science (BE)

  • Odisee University college (BE)

There were also three observer partners: Conseil Départmental du Nord, East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, Santé Publique France.

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