North West Coast Research and Innovation Award

the winning team

Lancaster University, local authority partners in the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care North West Coast (CLAHRC NWC), local people and agencies from three neighbourhoods in the region have won a NW Coast Research and Innovation award for their work on ‘art and storytelling’ in applied public health research.

The award aims to recognise improvements in understanding and assessing the well-being of people across the North West Coast. The work demonstrates the positive impact research and innovation can have on the quality of health and social care and on population health and health inequalities.

Professor Jennie Popay from the Faculty of Health and Medicine at Lancaster University said: “this innovative work is building stronger relationships between local people, staff in local authorities and other agencies, increasing resilience in these neighbourhoods and helping to improve living conditions and health.”  

Supported by CLAHRC researchers Vivien Holt, Emma Halliday, Koser Khan and Glenn Simpson, three Neighbourhoods for Learning (NfL) involved in the CLAHRC NWC Neighbourhood Resilience Programme are pioneering the use of arts-based storytelling in resident-led research to strengthen partnership working and address the social determinants of health inequalities. Two NfLs have focussed on understanding social isolation and building greater social connectedness. The third area has explored ways of improving employment prospects for local people.

The awards are a collaboration between the Innovation Agency, NIHR Clinical Research Network: North West Coast (CRN NWC), and NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care North West Coast (CLAHRC NWC).

Dr Liz Mear, Chief Executive of the Innovation Agency, said: “Talent, innovation and collaboration in healthcare in England’s North West Coast are having a real impact on people’s lives and the quality of care. Each of this year’s winners has gone beyond what might normally be expected of them in their roles, and they are all pioneers in their fields.”

Professor Mark Gabbay, Director of CLAHRC NWC, said: “Working together, members of the public, universities, industry and NHS partners have delivered ground-breaking research and new initiatives which will pave the way for future improvements to healthcare and reductions in health inequalities in the region and nationally. I congratulate each of this year’s winners and finalists.”

Valerie Ayre, Public Health Locality Manager Cumbria County Council, said “Working with local residents has given us a real insight into their everyday challenges around vulnerability to employment and the impact this has on their health & wellbeing. They have identified some suggestions and tweaks to our systems that could lead to improvements. By using artwork and storytelling from our resident advisors, we are now engaging with our stakeholders in order to work collectively to see where adjustments can be made. “

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