Community 24.04.24

Sheffield Hallam University marks Civic Fellowship anniversary

Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre based at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park has celebrated the second anniversary of the Civic Fellowship programme aimed at fostering strong partnerships between local community-based organisations and academic researchers.

The Civic Fellowship has enabled research projects between the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) and Darnall Well Being, a local community charity working to support the residents of Darnall and Tinsley, two of the city’s most underserved areas.

The Civic Fellowship program is funded by Westfield Health and delivered in partnership with Darnall Well Being and the Darnall Educations and Skills Academy (DESA). The focus of the program is on the role of sport and physical activity in raising aspirations, creating improved employability, and improving health outcomes for young residents of Darnall, a highly diverse community in Sheffield.

The project team interviewed community leaders to gain insights into Darnall and explore how sport and physical activity can contribute to improved employment and health outcomes for young people in the area. They also worked with paid youth interns, to understand how young Darnall residents were building resilience in the aftermath of the pandemic. The AWRC recruited 12 interns aged between 16 and 23-years-old and investigated their physical activity, wellbeing, experiences living in the area, and any barriers to employment opportunities.

Themes also included focus on the roles that family, friends, finance and school plays in contributing to leading a fit and healthy life with meaningful employment and contributing to society.

Dave Hembrough, project lead and research fellow at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “This Civic Fellowship has been a valuable opportunity to deepen our understanding of the challenges and aspirations of young people in Darnall. By working closely with Darnall Well Being and the local community, we have been able to co-create research that can directly benefit the residents and inform future initiatives.”

A celebration event to mark the conclusion of the second year of the Civic Fellowship programme was held at the AWRC on Thursday 18 April.

At the event, the youth interns presented their research findings and shared their experiences and learnings, highlighting the support they need to achieve their aspirations.

Lucy Melleney, CEO of Darnall Well Being, added: “We are pleased to support the second year of the Civic Fellowship as it reflects the shared values and genuine commitment to do things differently. It places young people’s voice and lived experience at the heart of community-based research and can be a powerful asset in developing our understanding of the needs and aspirations of local young people.”

Kate Platts, Head of Research and Innovation at Westfield Health, said: “Supporting the Civic Fellowship reflects a core part of our mission to improve the health and wellbeing of the communities in which we live and work. It’s inspiring to see the project utilise research and innovation to develop practical support for young people, focused on the experiences that truly matter to them.”

The Civic Fellowship is part of a set of wider commitments the University has made to the region under its Civic University Agreement.