Project launches to help improve health and wellbeing of children in most deprived areas of Stevenage

PUBLISHED: 13:41 11 February 2020 | UPDATED: 13:49 11 February 2020

The project will focus on ways to facilitate sensitive conversations with children and their families about their health and wellbeing. Picture: Courtesy of the University of Hertfordshire.

The project will focus on ways to facilitate sensitive conversations with children and their families about their health and wellbeing. Picture: Courtesy of the University of Hertfordshire.

Archant

A project aimed at helping to improve the health and wellbeing of children living in deprived areas of Stevenage has been launched.

Led by the University of Hertfordshire - in collaboration with Healthwatch Hertfordshire, Stevenage Borough Council and the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust - the project will focus on ways to facilitate sensitive conversations with children and their families about their health and wellbeing.

According to the University of Hertfordshire, 10 per cent of the county's population is living in its most deprived areas - including 28,100 children, 70,000 working-age adults and 15,400 older people.

The research team will focus on families living in socio-economically challenged areas of Stevenage, having established that Bedwell and Bandley Hill are in the top 10 most deprived areas in the county.

Socioeconomic status includes factors such as educational attainment, occupation, income, wealth and deprivation.

One in five children in Stevenage live in an income-deprived household and Stevenage has the second highest take up of free school meals in Hertfordshire.

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The research team will hold several engagement events at play centres in Stevenage to open conversations with children and their families about health and wellbeing issues that matter most to them.

These events will be supplemented by a steering group with representatives from all partners and community representatives to reflect and learn from those activities.

The project will run until May, with funding from UK Research and Innovation.

Doctor Julia Jones, of the Centre for Research in Public Health and Community Care at the University of Hertfordshire, said: "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."

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