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Natalie Leworthy

BA (Hons) History of Art (University of Manchester)

MA Social Work (University of York)

  • PhD student


Thesis supervisors

Thesis topic

Intergenerational dynamics and the interface with quality of life, inequalities and care decision making in a newly diagnosed dementia population.

Thesis summary

My area of study sits under a workstream of the wider research project of 'DETERMIND - Determinants of quality of life, care and costs, and consequences of inequalities in people with dementia and their carers'. Within this, my thesis will be looking specifically at people with dementia who pay for their own social care, known as self-funders. Some self-funders have little or no involvement with local authority social services and my research aims to understand more about how they navigate this complex care system with limited or no input from councils. My research focuses on whether intergenerational support and dynamics have an impact on this population group, comparing outcomes for people who have intergenerational support, with those who may be isolated or have very little intergenerational support. My study will include qualitative interviews with people living with dementia and their networks as a sub-sample of the larger DETERMIND cohort. My studentship is funded by The Abbeyfield Research Foundation.      


My interest in art therapy led me to volunteer at a charity supporting a wide range of people to engage in art, music, dance, drama and play therapy. I gained employment experience at the Midland Mencap head office in Birmingham and it is here that I decided to pursue a career in adult social care. I qualified as a Social Worker through completing the MA in Social Work at the University of York and went on to work for local authorities in Yorkshire and the West Midlands. I have worked as a qualified Social Worker in settings including learning disabilities, hospital discharge, and locality/community teams. 

My MA degree involved completing a dissertation on my chosen topic of the 'Circles of Support and Accountability' model of sex offender community reintegration. It is through completing this project that I gained an interest in conducting research and knew that I would like to pursue this at some point further in my career. I was lucky enough to receive a funded studentship from The Abbeyfield Research Foundation and commenced my PhD in January 2020. 


GTA on the MSocW (Hons) Social Work course - 'Introduction to Social Work' module. 


General research interests

  • Quality of life in elderly populations and those living with dementia
  • Inclusivity and community-led support for people with learning/physical disabilities and mental health conditions
  • Community-based interventions for sex offender treatment programmes and restorative justice 
  • The connection between art/creativity and mental health; art therapy and models of recovery in mental health
  • S117 pathways and co-working with local authorities and the NHS.

I am currently working as a part-time Research Associate on the PRESENCE study. This role involves recruiting participants and conducting discrete choice experiment surveys.

Natalie Leworthy

Contact details

Natalie Leworthy

PhD student
Department of Social Policy and Social Work