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Children, Young People and Families Research at Sheffield

University of Sheffield logoContributing to the SPHR Children, young people and families programme

Researchers from Sheffield have really valued the opportunity to be part of the Children, young people and families SPHR programme for the last five years.

Sheffield researchers have contributed to a variety of different projects so far, including:

We also contributed to supervising SPHR PhD students, including Olivia Alliott’s project exploring the role of socioeconomic position in adolescent physical activity (Cambridge) and Clare Timblin’s work on inequalities in access to opportunities for physical activity (Sheffield).

We are currently collaborating on the development of a number of new projects that are being considered for funding, including:

  • Project 1.1: Understanding the role of voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of minorities young men (with Fuse and Exeter)
  • Project 1.2: Exploring local authority strategies to reduce housing insecurity for families with children (with Cambridge, LiLac and PHRESH)
  • Project 1.3: Working with LGBTQ+ youth groups and trusted adults to better understand what is needed and who is needed to make different types of physical activity feel safer and more inclusive (with Fuse and PHRESH)
The public health evidence synthesis programme

Our recent review has explored the health and wellbeing impacts of insecure housing on children and young people and feeds directly into the housing insecurity project submitted to the CYPF programme above.

Connect and Reflect

More broadly, a number of Sheffield’s SPHR researchers have recently contributed to a Research England project called Connect and Reflect. This project aimed to bring together researchers interested in working with children and young people and to reflect on the variety of creative and engaging ways to do so. Case studies included reflections on diverse topics such as: building collaborations with community partners, tensions, and challenges in designing and carrying out participatory research with children and young people and what might need to change (institutionally, sector-wide, academically) to enable participatory research. Please have a look at our case studies, which include many projects relevant to health and wellbeing.

N8 Child of the North Network

Another key initiative for Sheffield is the N8 Child of the North Network. The N8 Research Partnership is a strategic collaboration between the eight most research intensive universities in the North (Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, York). In partnership with the Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) – the ambition for Child of the North is to create a platform for collaboration, high-quality research and policy engagement that will improve the lives of all children living in the North of England. Researchers from Sheffield recently hosted a Child of the North webinar, showcasing projects to enhance children’s health, safety and understanding of the law. The webinar recording can be accessed here. We’ll also be participating in the upcoming network meeting in Leeds, which aims to bring academics from a range of disciplines together to develop a framework for future Child of the North collaboration so that efforts can be focused on areas with commitment from partners to work together and the potential of added value from collaboration to enhance the lives of children growing up in the North of England. We have representation from Politics, Sociology, Public Health and Education participating.

So there’s lots going on – both in terms of bringing together different methodological and disciplinary expertise – and working closely with VCSE and practice colleagues – to develop impactful work to improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people, and to reduce inequalities. We’re particularly grateful to our wonderful community partners, including Chilypep, who played a central role in our work and coordinated a series of workshops with VCSE colleagues across the country to identify research priorities related to the role of the VCSE sector in reducing inequalities in young people’s health and Ignite Imaginations, who we worked with to produce an art installation in Sheffield city centre, inspired by young people’s ideas about health inequalities. We’ve also really appreciated working closely with, and learning from, colleagues at the Association for Young People’s Health. We look forward to continuing this high impact work with partners in SPHR going forward.

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