This is a community focused project to engage with children and their families living in deprived areas of Stevenage about their health and wellbeing.
Supporting the health and wellbeing of children is a national and local public health priority. Children and their families living in socio-economically deprived areas are particularly vulnerable to poor physical and mental health. Public engagement and research activities often fail to engage and hear the voices of children and families from deprived communities about their ‘lived experience’ of health and wellbeing.
In this project, key partners will collaborate and share their expertise on methods of community engagement and co-production and specifically, methods to facilitate sensitive conversations with children and their families about their health and wellbeing. Representatives from all partner organisations and community groups will collaborate with the University of Hertfordshire to build a sustainable research partnership focused in Stevenage
1) To build a sustainable multi-agency research partnership between regional and local statutory and community organisations who support vulnerable children and their families in Stevenage;
2) To engage and listen to the health and wellbeing experiences and priorities of children and their families living in the most deprived neighbourhoods of Bedwell and Bandley Hill wards in Stevenage, which rank within the lowest two fifths of LSOAs according to the Indices of Multiple Deprivation;
3) To involve children and their families to co-design innovative and appropriate ways to talk about their health and wellbeing experiences and priorities;
4) To create awareness and understanding among children and their families in Stevenage about opportunities related to participation and involvement in health and social care research.
Form and build the partnership:
- Establish steering group with representatives from all partners and local community representatives and hold first meeting
- Spend time in Stevenage and have informal conversations with children, families and staff in two play centres (see scale section) about the aims of project
Listen and learn from lived experience:
- Co-create space and creative opportunities to open conversations with children and their families about health and wellbeing issues that matter to them
- Engagement events, using co-creation methods such as art and music, incorporating a health and wellbeing focus to stimulate conversations. Four events are proposed.
- Second steering group meeting to reflect and learn from engagement activities
Feedback and community celebrations:
- ‘Celebration’ events with Easter theme to provide feedback to children and families about health and social care priorities they raised and ideas for future co-designed projects
- Promote awareness about opportunities for ongoing community engagement and involvement in health and social care research
Reflect, share learning and plans for partnership:
- Third steering group meeting
Reflect upon and share learning about:
1) building research partnerships and 2) engagement activities
- Review project and plan future projects
- Write and submit report to UKRI
- A sustainable multi-agency research partnership between regional and local statutory and community organisations who support vulnerable children and their families in Stevenage
- The generation of health and wellbeing priorities of children and their families living in deprived areas
- Awareness and understanding among children and their families in Stevenage about opportunities related to participation and involvement in health and social care research
Project was paused after four months, due to COVID-19 restrictions. We had a no-cost extension from the funder (UKRI) until 31/05/21. The research partnership established by this project has supported the development and submission of a new grant application for a Citizen Science Collaboration Grant, submitted in September 2020, to the UKRI.