Hull Roundheads


British Science Association announces research funding for 12 Hull community projects

The British Science Association has announced that it will be funding 12 community projects in Hull as part of its new Ideas Fund programme.

With an initial investment of £417K, the projects will involve a knowledge exchange between the community groups and University of Hull researchers.

The Ideas Fund is a new, innovative grants scheme, run by the British Science Association (BSA) and funded by the Wellcome Trust, that enables the UK public to develop and try out ideas that address problems related to mental wellbeing through collaborating with professional researchers.

The initial application round received a total of 146 applications from selected pilot areas with 42 projects having now been selected to receive funding. The projects feature a broad range of topics from sport, arts, nature and nutrition to issues faced by varied age groups, disabled, refugee and LGBTQ+ communities.

Hull was announced as one of four pilot areas in January this year – and the latest announcement reveals how funds have been allocated across the city.

Dr Gill Hughes, a lecturer in Youth Work and Community Development and Education Studies at the University of Hull and one of three Ideas Fund Development Coordinators for Hull, said: “This investment in community projects in Hull is really good news for the city. As a University, we are committed to promoting social justice and fairness for all and to making a difference to our community, and this innovative approach to allocating funding by the British Science Association and the Wellcome Trust gives us the opportunity to work closely with a diverse range of community groups.

“There is no doubt that as one of only four pilot schemes in The Ideas Fund programme, Hull was fortunate to be selected to be part of The Ideas Fund programme – and is now set to benefit as a city as the projects get underway.

“At the University of Hull, we have been really excited to be involved in an innovative opportunity to do things differently in terms of funding, which starts by working with community groups, who developed ideas for needs-led projects to create mental wellbeing. This is even more crucial as we come through the global pandemic.

“What has made it extra special is that the Fund is about building relationships by matching communities with researchers to exchange their lived and learnt knowledge and experience.

“We think this will make the projects richer and offer further opportunities to create impact and change now, but also develop beyond the life of the programme.

“We were very grateful for the great response from academic staff at the University – around 60 researchers were initially matched with projects, with 42 going forward to application."

The University is looking forward to working with the partnerships to support the achievement of their ideas. The Ideas Fund approach is already becoming a catalyst within the University of Hull to influence other initiatives with its ethos and approach.

One of the projects that has been funded in Hull includes Butterflies Memory Loss Support Group. The project aims to help those with dementia (and their family and support network) by focusing on changes in behaviour, finding ways to avoid flashpoints, providing coping strategies, and learning new skills to explore how this impacts wellbeing of all concerned. Dr Emma Wolverson (Senior Lecturer Ageing and Dementia) will be the research partner on this project.

Another Hull-based project is The Hull Roundheads RUFC – a gay and inclusive rugby club – which plans to work with researchers, led by Dr Sarah Jane Dickenson (Head of Department English, Creative Writing & American Studies) to better understand barriers to participation and to share these stories more widely.

Hull Roundheads
Hull Roundheads (Elisa Hall Photography)

A summary of the 12 Hull projects in Hull is listed at the end of this article.

In total, up to £1.6m of grant funding has been awarded in the UK including grants of up to £25,000 to help develop ideas that are at a very early stage and larger grants of around £90,000 to support, adapt and expand ideas that have already been developed and tested.

All of the projects involve local communities working with researchers in the four UK locations that The Ideas Fund operates: the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, North West Northern Ireland, Oldham and Hull.

The Ideas Fund has made an exciting start in enabling communities in the UK that may have been overlooked by health research in the past, to take the lead in developing and trying out ideas that address problems related to mental wellbeing.

Katherine Mathieson, Chief Executive of the British Science Association, said: “I am delighted with the response we have had to The Ideas Fund, and the fantastic projects we have been able to support in this first stage of funding.

“Reaching individuals and groups who have been overlooked by health research in the past is a key aim of the Fund – particularly in rural or minority ethnic communities and amongst young people – so I am incredibly excited to see the next stage of these projects and what they are able to achieve.’’

The Fund has been extended until 2023, with a further £1.9m being made available by Wellcome for additional grants. This extra funding will deepen the reach and impact of The Ideas Fund in the four UK locations, and will further diversify the portfolio of grants, raising the profile of what is possible when communities and researchers work together.

The Fund aims to do things differently by delivering funding using a participatory, equitable approach and to break down barriers for communities looking to engage with researchers, and to support them in having a more active voice in research on issues that matter to them. It is an innovative approach that puts the community groups in the driving seat.

Delivered by the British Science Association (BSA) and funded by Wellcome, the Fund supports the BSA’s belief that science is about ideas that can and should come from anywhere and Wellcome’s commitment to funding ideas that empower people, lead to better research and enable science to solve urgent health challenges.

Reaching individuals and groups who have been overlooked by health research in the past is a key aim of the Fund – particularly in rural or minority ethnic communities, amongst the young, marginalised and socioeconomically disadvantaged people.

The collaboration demonstrates the synergy with the University’s ambitions and beliefs: to create a fairer, brighter, carbon neutral future, and to promoting social justice – tackling inequalities and contributing to shaping a society that is built on equity, integrity and respect. In 2019, the University of Hull signed up to the Civic University Agreements – a pledge for universities to help their local communities thrive.

12 Knowledge Exchange projects to address mental wellbeing in Hull:

  • HU4 community network group: Developing a community hub to build connectedness to address increases in social isolation and social issues to secure mental health and well-being in an area of the city that has very few resources.

  • Hull Community Church: To give opportunities to people in the local community to support each other with an intercultural ethos and a sense that everyone has something to give as well as something to receive. Additionally, to get support for problems the community are experiencing, eg with reading an official letter, budgeting, a benefit claim. Explore restorative practice to resolve inter-community issues. Researcher: Dr Margarita Zernova.

  • Friends of Garrowby Orchard: Coronation Road and West Derringham. To ask residents for their perception of the role of greenspaces in our community as a place of well-being and how they can take ownership of the greenspaces for their own well-being. Researcher: Katie Parsons.

  • Groundwork Yorkshire: Women in the former St Andrew’s Ward of Hull.Looking at how memories and experience can impact us and our future choices – enabling individuals and groups to explore and learn skills to help them understand themselves better, to improve wellbeing and emotional resilience for themselves, their children, friends, family, and community. Researcher: Dr Chris Westoby.

  • Bameen: This project explores the issues of cultural foods and healthy diets and impacts on mental health during this the pandemic. Researcher: Wendy Gregory.

  • The Friends of Kneeshaw Park: To re-engage the community with its 17-acre park where people and nature work together for a healthy sustainable future that encourages a sense of place, meaningful connections, and lasting memories. Researcher: Professor Andy Jonas.

  • Fitmums and Friends: To create a Bereavement Forest school and literature projects to support children experiencing grief and loss. To provide "active support" to improve emotional wellbeing. Researcher: Dr Richard Meek.

  • Borashabaa Refugee Community Organisation: A community centre for asylum seekers and refugees. Tackling the language barriers cause mental health issues for those who cannot understand or write English. Creating afterschool activities for young people. Researchers: Dr Lisa Jones/Dr Martin Nickson.

  • Neighbourhood Network: To educate women about the menopause and perimenopause, offer non-medical services to enhance womens’ mental wellbeing whilst they navigate through this stage of life, along with support for pre-menopausal and post-menopausal women. Researcher: Professor Natalie Vanicek.

  • Butterflies Memory Loss Support Group: People living with dementia. Looking at changes in behaviour in dementia, finding ways to avoid flash points and providing coping strategies, learning new skills how this impacts wellbeing of all concerned. Researcher: Dr Emma Wolverson.

  • The Hull Roundheads RUFC: Hull's LGBTQ+ population (including BAME and Eastern European communities). To identify the stigma and barriers which discourage LGBTQ+ individuals from participating in gay and inclusive sports teams and develop strategies/activities to address that

There are two additional projects currently in development and there is hope the New Ideas programme will also provide future opportunities.


Header image credit: Richard Dafydd Photography

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