Lancaster University is to work with Blackpool Council on a pioneering £5m National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) health inequalities research collaboration.
The funding is part of a £50m national investment by the Department of Health and Social Care which will see 13 local authorities set up innovative Health Determinants Research Collaborations (HDRCs) between experts and academics, to address knowledge gaps in local areas.
In Blackpool, the project will focus on the day-to-day experiences of residents and evidence will then inform how council and health services are designed and delivered - with the aim of ultimately improving people’s health. Community members will be brought on board to act co-researchers and ensure people’s lived experience of facing health inequalities in the town are understood.
Lancaster University, Blackpool Council, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Trust, the NIHR and the local voluntary sector will work closely with residents with priority areas focussed on:
· the first three years of life
· education, employment and skills
· mental health
Professor Jo Rycroft-Malone, Executive Dean of Health and Medicine at Lancaster University, said: “We very much look forward to collaborating with our Blackpool partners on this important regional initiative.
“By working in partnership with our communities to find and use research about health determinants we will accelerate the improvement of outcomes for people in the area.”
Cllr Lynn Williams, Leader of Blackpool Council added: “We are delighted we have been awarded this money which will fund key research projects that will essentially look at health inequalities in Blackpool and how best to tackle them.
“Blackpool is known for many fabulous things; its entrepreneurial spirit, its creativity, its world- famous illuminations and its beautiful beaches to name but a few. However, sadly, it is also known for having poor life expectancy and health inequalities and we want to change that.
“This project will give us a unique opportunity to truly collaborate with the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), Lancaster University, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, voluntary organisations and the people of Blackpool to identify the key health issues in Blackpool and use that research to inform policy and services that will support our communities in the best way possible.”
Professor Enitan Carrol, Clinical Director at the NIHR Clinical Research Network: North West Coast said: "We’re delighted to learn of the success of our colleagues at Blackpool Council in the Health Determinants Research Collaboration (HDRC) funding call.
“The Blackpool HDRC will serve as a blueprint for co-production with local authorities to create a fairer community for everyone. The vision is that Blackpool will become nationally and internationally recognised as a centre of co-produced research across local government and the academic sector, to support evidence-based community regeneration, using a systems approach.
“This funding will act as a catalyst for research to help tackle health inequalities in the town, region and beyond. Congratulations to everyone involved in this significant achievement, it’s wonderful news for Blackpool and the town's local communities."
Conal Land, Community Co-researcher, added: “Hearing that Blackpool has been successful in its bid for the HDRC funding is extremely exciting. It means young people in the town will have the resource required to undertake research and advocate on behalf of their peers and community.
“It means we can continue to co-produce research, alongside members of the community which have been underserved by research before, to ensure that no one feels left behind. Such opportunities are vital in order to make real lasting change and to give people in our town a voice. We cannot wait to get started.”
The project will ensure that it shares its work across the town, and will specifically hold annual learning events to enable a wide range of people to be part of its ongoing development.Back to News