Flying, Food banks and Films- By Iman

By Louca-Mai Brady,

The Herts YPAG had an online meeting on May 10th, kicking off by sharing the emojis if how we were feeling – this varied from 😊(pure joy) to 😔 (quite a few of us are doing exams) . Fortunately, the majority of the emojis were positive and no one was too tired to contribute to the meeting! We then introduced ourselves, talking about which superpower 🦸‍♀️🦸‍♂️we would like to have the most – these ranged from telepathy, flying and super speed to being able to take food out from the TV when watching cooking programmes! Just imagine the pleasure of doing that whilst watchPicture of YPAG meeting on Zooming a mouth-watering episode of Master Chef 😋

As we’ve been going for more than two years now some people have moved on (but not forgotten) and three new members have joined our YPAG, bringing more perspectives and more energy.

Claire and Jess came to talk to us again about the SALIENT project, and research about food banks. Food banks are a bit like supermarkets, but everything is free. They are for people who struggle to afford to buy enough food to eat. The products available in food banks consist of basic items that people need to live, most of which are donated by people. We started by doing a true or false quiz on food banks and shockingly learnt that if every food bank in the UK was a supermarket, then it would be the second largest supermarket chain in the UK.

Slide explaining what a randomised controlled trial isJess then told us that the SALIENT food bank project is  a “randomized control trial” which was interesting because I wanted to know a bit more about the actual research methodologies that take place behind-the-scenes. It was super interesting to learn this much about food banks as it wasn’t something we’ve really talked before.

‘I had a great time attending the YPAG meeting and getting to know the YPAG members a bit more. I remembered from our last in-person meeting that the YPAG members were keen to learn more about different research designs that researchers use. In this meeting I presented the SALIENT food bank study which is a randomised controlled trial (RCT), so I tried my best at explaining what an RCT is and why it can be useful. The young people asked lots of great questions, particularly around how we can ensure the food given out by food banks can meet people’s cultural and health needs’. Jess

Sybil and Russ from Flexible Films 🎥, who are co-producing a film with us, then showed us the first full version of our film after a day of working on our film last month, and we brainstormed ideas for how to enhance the film, though unfortunately we had some minor technical difficulties with the sound. During my work experience I also collaborated with Sybil and Russ later on to help edit the film, discussing final changes and the illustrations that we needed to add.

Our members have also been making waves beyond collaborating our meetings, including helping train researchers on how to involve young people and presenting at conferences. For example, there’s an upcoming conference on ‘Creative Research Methods’ towards the end of June and the Annual School of Health and Social Work research conference coming up in July, which I’ll also be taking part in 🙂

During my work experience at the University of Hertfordshire’s lovely CRIPACC department, I also worked on a presentation to give on the training day which was to talk about the YPAG’s involvement in research, and how we can make research with younger people more inclusive.

Aside from this, there was a “Festival of Ideas” on the last day of my work experience. There were so many interesting talks, shows, art pieces, interviews, robots and even a fashion show! I loved talking to the robot🤖, and his dancing was top notch. The University of Hertfordshire also has a robot house– we were thinking this might make a good trip for the future.

Not to mention, me and Millie went on a tour of the Institute of Sport 🎾, where they had so many cool machines, including a huge treadmill that could swing back and forth and side to side.

Work experience was a very valuable experience for me, and being a researcher was hugely different from what I had imagined ( a lot more meetings!). I’m grateful for Louca-Mai and Millie having made this experience as enjoyable as they could and I’m very excited about presenting on the upcoming training day soon!