A new project has been launched to build a health and wellbeing research partnership with children and their families living in socio-economically challenged areas in Stevenage.
Led by the University of Hertfordshire, in collaboration with Healthwatch Hertfordshire, Stevenage Borough Council and health and research partners in the region, the project will focus on ways to facilitate sensitive conversations with children and their families about their health and wellbeing.
The research team will hold several engagement events in play centres in Stevenage to open conversations with children and their families about health and wellbeing issues that matter most to them. These will be supplemented by a steering group with representatives from all partners and local community representatives to reflect and learn from those activities.
The project will run until May 2020, with funding from UK Research and Innovation.
Around 10% of the population in Hertfordshire is living in its most deprived areas (Hertfordshire Community Solutions, 2016). That includes 15,400 older people (aged 65 years and over), 28,100 children (aged 17 years and under) and 70,000 working age adults (18-64 years). The Stevenage areas of Bedwell and Bandley Hill are in the top 10 most deprived areas in the county (Hertfordshire Community Solutions, 2016).
“Supporting the health and wellbeing of children is both a national and local public health priority. Those living in socio-economically challenged areas can be vulnerable to poorer health and emotional wellbeing. Public engagement and research activities often fail to engage and hear the voices of children and families in these areas about their experiences and what is important to them. The project aims to bridge this gap and create awareness and understanding of the key issues for children and their families in Stevenage.”
Dr Julia Jones Centre for Research in Public Health and Community Care (CRIPACC) at the University of Hertfordshire