theatre group for SAFER stood together for photo


University of Hull showcase of British Science Association community research projects

The University of Hull is set to celebrate inspiring community projects next week – funded through an innovative research grant – at a special event.

The event will enable the community groups to share their stories, the opportunities and challenges of the collaboration, and will conclude with a performance of the play Safer, written by Sarah Jane Dickenson for one of the projects. The play addresses the stigma and barriers which discourage LGBTQAI+ individuals from participating in gay and inclusive sports teams, developed in partnership with local rugby team, The Roundheads.

moment from the SAFER play
Actors Ethan Lang, centre, and Angelo Irvin star in Safer, the play written by Sarah Jane Dickenson and directed by Dr Lucy Fielding, Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Practice at the University of Hull.

The projects are part of The Ideas Fund, launched by the British Science Association (BSA) and the Wellcome Trust in 2021. Two years later, the inspiring array of stories are being showcased from the first round of projects, with a teaser for what’s to come in the second phase of the project.

This fund is a new and innovative grant scheme run by the British Science Association (BSA) and funded by the Wellcome Trust, which is needs-led where researchers from the University are invited to work with community groups. This changes the traditional power dynamic to put the communities first enabling them to co-create ideas through knowledge exchange. In the first round the BSA received 146 applicants from the 4 selected pilot areas, with 46 projects being chosen to come to fruition, with 13 in Hull. These projects span a range of topics from sport, arts, nature and nutrition to issues faced by varied age groups, which include people who experience disability, are refugees and the LGBTQ+ communities.

With an initial investment of £417,000, The Ideas Fund allowed community groups and the University of Hull researchers to work together to address problems related to mental wellbeing. This figure has now risen to just over £1m coming into the city, with £100k of this to embed this more equitable approach.

The round 1 projects have or are now applying for extensions and 7 new projects have just started. 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: “Since 2021, 20 projects have been funded in Hull thanks to this programme. It’s been really beneficial for the city and our local community.

At the University, we are committed to promoting social justice and fairness for all and to making a difference by working with our community in partnership, and this innovative approach to allocating funding by the British Science Association and the Wellcome Trust has given us the opportunity to work closely with a diverse range of community groups.

Dr Gill Hughes

“While those within the project have been able to see and experience the direct results, we’re very proud and excited to showcase and celebrate these 20 projects at The Ideas Fund Showcase, to be held at the University on Monday 17 July 2023.

“We’ll hear inspiring stories from the projects, as well as the experience of working in this novel way and explore the learning that has been acquired along the way between communities and researchers who have embraced and valued the challenges and opportunities of collaboration. There’ll also be a taster of what is to come from the recently funded round 2 projects.”

The powerful play ‘Safer’ by Sarah Jane Dickenson, created by round 1 project the Roundheads RUFC will be performed at the showcase. Based on true stories, Safer is hard hitting, tender and truthful but doesn’t forget the funny and absurd experiences as it explores what it is to be part of a truly inclusive sports team.

The Ideas Fund Hull Showcase will run from 9:30am to 5pm on Monday 17th July at the University of Hull. Tickets are free, but must be booked in advance here.

distant shot of a moment during the performance
theatre group for SAFER stood together for photo
Members of Hull Roundheads RUFC join writer Sarah Jane Dickenson, director and researcher Dr Lucy Fielding and Dr David Eldridge, project lead and co-investigator - on stage at the end of the Hull premiere.

The 20 Projects from The Ideas Fund include:

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, utilising ESOL to explore topics chosen by the community members, which can include getting support for problems the community are experiencing, for example with reading an official letter, budgeting, a benefit claim, etc.

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.

Bameen: This project explores the issues of cultural foods and healthy diets and impacts on mental wellbeing.

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.

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.

Borashabaa Refugee Community Organisation: A community centre for asylum seekers and refugees. Tackling the language barriers causing mental health issues for those who cannot understand or write English. Creating after school activities for young people.

Neighbourhood Network: To educate women about the menopause and perimenopause, offer non-medical services to enhance womens’ mental wellbeing whilst they navigate this stage of life, along with support for premenopausal and postmenopausal women.

Butterflies Memory Loss Support Group: Looking at changes in behaviour when experiencing dementia, the group offer ways to avoid flash points and provide coping strategies identified by people with dementia to share with their families and carers, learning new skills and how this impacts wellbeing of all concerned.

The Hull Roundheads RUFC: 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.

Oxygen: To support parents to better understand how trauma and attachment affect both theirs and their children’s behaviours, emotions and mental wellbeing.

WhoseSpace Derringham: Coronation Road and West Derringham: To ask residents for their perception of the role of greenspaces in their community as a place of well-being and how they can take ownership of the greenspaces for their own mental well-being.

Rewilding Youth: This project aims to reconnect young people living in urban areas with their wild selves through running a range of activities in local wild spaces focused on fostering nature connection and positive mental wellbeing.


Round 2

Self Advocacy Through Story-Telling: The VOICE group was initiated by the ambition of an individual who said he wanted to help other people with learning disabilities to live full lives and to have a voice in their community. It’s a way to think about what matters for adults with learning disabilities living in Hull and to demonstrate to people holding power that everyone has a voice.

OSHI: OSHI is a peer led project that connects those with relevant lived experiences to those living through experiences of addiction and recovery who need immediate help which is not met by an existing system.

Open Up and Transform: To explore and learn more about various topics linked to the justice system, with the hope that this will break isolation and improve mental wellbeing between people inside and outside prison, and form meaningful relationships that might lead to further collaboration.

NORM Wellbeing Project: Youth Aspire Connect’s NORM wellbeing project will co-create toolkits and creative outputs to support young people, parents and community leaders destigmatise and normalise conversations about mental health and wellbeing among young people from minority backgrounds.

Supporting Family Members Affected by ABI: P.A.U.L for Brain Recovery’s project will focus on improving the mental wellbeing of families living with an acquired brain injury (ABI) in Hull.

ERNI: Emotions aRe Not Illness (ERNI) is a group of people who meet virtually, of both mental health service users and practitioners in Hull who are frustrated by the current mental health service systems. They build real-world relationships and co-create resources together.

Project Insight: To work with visually impaired children in Hull to research factors affecting both their physical and mental health and wellbeing. The project will work in collaboration with arts organisations experienced with working with children, to create a diverse programme of activities.

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