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Young people’s peer research into health inequalities launched

5 February 2020

Children in Scotland today launched a new peer research report into health inequalities in communities, undertaken by young researchers from Dalmarnock Primary School in Glasgow and Baldragon Academy in Dundee.

Funded by the Wellcome Trust and developed with guidance from Niamh Shortt, Professor in Health Geographies at the University of Edinburgh, the participative research project engaged a group of young researchers aged 10-14 to find out what they think needs to change in their communities.

Taking a mixed methods approach which combined focus groups, ethnography (exploring areas using mapping and photography) and analysis, the peer researchers decided to focus on three topic areas which for them had the most relevance in considering the impact of place: ‘Safety’, ‘Littering’ and ‘Family and Friends’.

The launch event at Tynecastle Park was led by some of the P7 students who contributed. Amber, P7 at Dalmarnock Primary said:

“It was fun and we got to learn new things. It was exciting and it always felt like an equal relationship working with the team from Children in Scotland. It helped us think about the places we live in, in a different way and working towards the things that we can change.”

Amy Woodhouse, Children in Scotland’s Head of Policy, Projects and Participation, said the project – which aligns with Children in Scotland’s strategic goal to challenge Inequalities – provided a great opportunity to give young people the chance to do a professional job as researchers.

“This research has brought a fresh perspective and some really simple solutions under their recommendations. We have an opportunity through the UNCRC being brought into Scots Law to make some of these recommendations a reality,” she said.

The peer researchers’ recommendations for adults included:

  • More visible responsible adults in our communities
  • Access to free or cheap fun activities
  • Improved green spaces
  • Regenerating abandoned spaces
  • Support services for children, young people and adults. Support not stigma.

The launch event was attended by representatives from statutory, voluntary and third sector organisations keen to get a fresh perspective from young people on the impact of place on health, wellbeing and inequality.

Lorna Bellany of Pennypit Community Development Trust, based at Prestonpans, said: “It’s so unique that this report is led by young people. Kids just aren’t heard enough.”

Darren Rocks, attending on behalf of NHS Health Scotland, said: “NHS Health Scotland, Architecture & Design Scotland and the Scottish Government have commissioned Play Scotland to deliver a children and young people’s version of the Place Standard, the framework to structure conversations about place.

"I’m interested in increasing children’s participation and hearing the voices of young people within that discussion so today has been a great opportunity to hear a bit more from the young people themselves.”

Bringing proceedings to a close at the launch event, Chris Ross, Children in Scotland’s Policy Officer and project lead on the report: Health Inequalities: Peer research into the role of communities, said:

“We want to see meaningful change in health inequality and in the next couple of years, we will be actively campaigning for that.”

Click here to read the full report, Health Inequalities: Peer research into the role of communities.

Media contacts:

Catherine Bromley,
Chris Small,

Notes for editors:

Children in Scotland

Giving all children in Scotland an equal chance to flourish is at the heart of everything we do.
By bringing together a network of people working with and for children, alongside children and young people themselves, we offer a broad, balanced and independent voice. We create solutions, provide support and develop positive change across all areas affecting children in Scotland.

We do this by listening, gathering evidence, and applying and sharing our learning, while always working to uphold children’s rights. Our range of knowledge and expertise means we can provide trusted support on issues as diverse as the people we work with and the varied lives of children and families in Scotland.

The report

This report outlines the research undertaken by young peer researchers

Click to download the report

The context

Professor Niamh Shortt discusses health inequalities in a short video

Click to watch the video

The animation

We've produced a five-minute animation about the young researchers' findings

Click to watch the video

The project

The project explores how community and place impacts on the health of young people

Click to find out more

Related work

One of our strategic aims is to challenge inequalities – a focus of various projects we run

Click to browse our projects