Research, frozen food and planning a film! – By Cherish

By Louca-Mai Brady,

The first Herts YPAG meeting of the year took place online on Wednesday 24th January. The meeting started off with an icebreaker in order to get things going – a game of “I spy”, spotting things in each others’ online background. Whoever guessed the object first got to be the next ‘spy’. It was interesting, as we managed to get the adults involved in the game too, who took part wholeheartedly.

Then Chloe and Asha from Healthwatch Hertfordshire came to talk to us about how the NHS can get more children and young people involved in research. We talked about the barriers young people might have with taking part in research, and what would make them want to participate.

We all seemed to agree that research can seem scientific and quite difficult, which can put some young people off🧪. The research might also happen at times where young people aren’t available, such as during school or college. However, things like making research creative and fun for young people to enjoy, and giving the option of online or in-person meetings, might mean that more young people might want to get involved in research!🎨

Chloe said:

It was a pleasure to speak with members of the Herts YPAG about the work we are doing with the NHS to improve participation in research. The group shared excellent ideas on how research can be better advertised, and how the NHS can help more children and young people to take part in research. Their views will help not only our local NHS but also NHS England learn how they can improve the inclusivity of research.

Then, we talked with Claire for updates on the SALIENT project, a project on healthy eating and on reducing the environmental impact of food on the planet 🌍. Claire asked us for our thoughts around frozen meals, and what our favourite ready meals were. We suggested things like pizza, risotto, mac and cheese and curry because they’re all easy to prepare and they’re well-liked by everyone🍕.

We also talked about supermarket sections, and whether veggie and meat food options should be displayed together or separately. We agreed that, if the options were displayed together, more people might be more likely to select the vegetarian option, compared to if the two options were in different sections. Because the production of meat for food is more harmful for the environment than the production of vegetables, this would ultimately be more sustainable!🥕

Finally, Claire also updated us on how our YPAG’s involvement has fed into the SALIENT project. It was really great to think about how our own advice was supporting their work!

After we talked to the researchers, we moved on to discussing the new film we will all be co-producing about the YPAG itself, with the help of Flexible Films!🎞 Sybil and Russ came to our meeting to tell us about the different ways we can all get involved with the film. This included editing, interviewing or even being interviewed!

All of us are looking forward to our next in-person meeting in March, when we’ll be doing lots of the filming for the film will be done. The film will show what it’s like to be a member of the Herts YPAG, and how we manage to support researchers that want to involve young people in their projects. We hope that this helps them understand how we can help them with their research!

In addition, we spoke to Beci, who will be drawing the animations that we will include in the film! She showed us some really cool examples of different ways we could use animation throughout the film, and it was really exciting to have somebody create tailor-made illustrations for our own project. People working on the film may also get the opportunity to help with these animations and look more into the process of animation, which is an exciting opportunity!

The possibilities in our future YPAG meetings are looking bright – for the projects we’ve helped with, and for our future film! It was great to see everybody online, and it’ll be exciting coming together for our next meeting, in-person. We’ll all be looking forward to it! See you then!😁