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Celebrating success at URBOND’s Youth Awards

Image of URBOND awards

Last week saw Kerry Gunner, Research Nurse for Clinical Research Network Wessex presenting the award for Outstanding Community Engagement at URBOND’S Youth Awards. This award went to Shaneia Ford, someone who was identified as creating a positive impact on their communities and peers through volunteerism and community participation as well as activism.

Commenting, Kerry said: “It was an honour to present the award. It was inspiring to hear all the amazing work that’s happening in bringing local communities together and the tremendous achievements of young people. Well done to them and to URBOND for creating such a fabulous programme for young people and the wider community to engage in. It is great that we can be part of it and hopefully help break down some of the barriers around health and care research.”

Being involved in the evening is just one part of our collaboration with Portsmouth-based charity URBOND. This partnership is part of the national Research Ready Communities programme which aims to look at building better relationships with communities that are currently under-served by health and care research and increase their access to health and care research opportunities.

We have been actively working with URBOND since October 2022 which has involved delivering a co-produced action plan, with the aim to give the local community the skills and knowledge they need to take an active role in health research, to break down barriers and build trust. As part of this action plan, and in addition to URBOND’s Youth Awards event, we have partnered to deliver career talks, create a podcast, attend events and conferences and have plans to deliver workshops and provide work experience opportunities.

Integral to the success of this programme are URBOND’S two community champions, Joe and Ruby. Following training with us last year, Joe and Ruby have been pivotal in engaging and talking with the community to understand levels of awareness and perceptions about research as well as helping inform and take forward the action plan.

Commenting about the awards event, Ruby said: “It was an honour to host such an amazing event for our young people. Children deserve to be recognised and celebrated no matter their background or status and be provided with opportunities to better their future. I would like to say a big congratulations to the award winners and a special thank you to all of those who attended the event.”

Zoe Sheppard, Research Delivery Manager for Clinical Research Network Wessex said: “The vision for our work with URBOND as part of the Research Ready Communities programme is to see health and social research better reflecting the needs and interests of all communities and as a result be able to address health inequalities. We love partnering with URBOND and are excited about the collaborative work ahead. Together we want to help make research more inclusive and representative.”