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LEC Researchers to appear on Newsround

Rebecca Sims (left) with students from Sydney Smith School Rebecca Sims (left) with students from Sydney Smith School

A team of researchers from Lancaster Environment Centre are to be featured on 'Newsround', the popular Children's BBC show that covers current affairs issues.

Dr Marion Walker and Dr Rebecca Sims, from the Geography Division of LEC, have been travelling to Hull to work with young people as part of a research project which uses storyboards, interviews and group work to explore how children were affected by the floods which devastated the city in 2007.

The Newsround team visited Sydney Smith School in Hull to film the young people as they talked with Lancaster's researchers about their memories of the floods and their ideas for improving drainage management in the future. Presenter Adam Fleming then interviewed some of the young people taking part in the project so that they could tell their stories in more detail.

Young people were hit hard by the flooding to homes, schools and community facilities which caused significant disruption to their lives for months and, in some cases, years. But until now, little academic work has been done to record their experiences. Lancaster's study, which is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the Environment Agency and Hull City Council focuses on around 60 children from primary school age to teenagers. The primary school taking part in the project is Thorpe Park School in Orchard Park, Hull.

Dr Marion Walker of the Lancaster Environment Centre, who is leading the research said: "We know that 36,558 school children suffered in the floods and in the recovery process but most existing accounts of flooding and flood recovery take no account of the perspectives of children and young people.

"For example, 114,400 pupil days were lost in school and we need to know the stories behind those statistics. We want to find out what issues are of particular concern to young people and how they think things could be done better in the future.

"Children are key to building strong, resilient communities - they bring people together and it's important that we hear what they have to say in order to pass that detail onto policy makers."

Environment Agency scientist Emma Skinner said: "More than two million properties in England and Wales are at risk from flooding and changes in our climate, such as more severe storms and wetter winters, will increase that risk.

"We can reduce the probability of flooding from rivers and the sea, and we also work to reduce the damage floods can do. Understanding the way children and young people respond to flooding and other climatic extremes will help us to communicate better with people living in flood risk areas."

Children, Flood and Urban Resilience: Understanding children and young people's experience and agency in the flood recovery process is a one year study funded by ESRC (£45K) the Environment Agency (£35K) and Hull City Council (£15K).

The research team are: Will Medd, Rebecca Sims and Marion Walker from the Geography Division, Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University and colleagues from Middlesex University (Sue Tapsell) and the University of Surrey (Jo Moran-Ellis and Kate Burningham).

Mon 29 June 2009