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NHS England Award Funding to develop two CORE20plus5-aligned Community Research Hubs

ICS article

The NIHR Clinical Research Network: North West Coast are delighted to announce that two of our community partners; Mary Seacole House in Liverpool,  and the Well Communities in Morecambe Bay are to share £100,000 in funding from NHS England to help develop community research hubs. The hubs will be developed in collaboration with our Integrated Care Systems for Cheshire and Merseyside, Lancashire and South Cumbria, and NIHR infrastructure across the North West Coast. 

Our region carries a stark health inequality burden. This funding, going directly to these inspirational, voluntary and community sector organisations will seek to address this avoidable health equity gap through multi-organisational collaboration, putting the community voice at the heart of research.

These community research hubs at Mary Seacole House and the Well Community will draw on support from existing NIHR community engagement programmes, including  the Research Ready Communities Programme, the Seldom Heard Voices Forum and the Community Research and Engagement Network. 

Kellie Roston, BAMER (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic, Refugee) Family Service Manager at Mary Seacole House welcomed the announcement and commented: “Working with the NIHR on this project will leave us with a better understanding about the health needs of our community. We are grateful for the opportunity to train community champions from under-represented groups, who understand issues and barriers within the community, who can help make a difference towards future research and shaping services for the next generation. 

Kerrie Higham, MBE, Director of Operations at the Well Community also commented: “We are passionate about drawing upon the lived experience of our community to deliver better project health outcomes and this funding presents us with an opportunity to do just that. We believe that this work can make a real difference to Morecambe Bay and our communities.”  

Dr Andrew Furber, Regional Director of Public Health, NHS England North West said: "This is fantastic news for the North West. We know that participation in research improves health. This programme will really help to increase involvement in research from under-represented communities. This will help to improve the population’s health and reduce inequalities.”

The aim of the community research hubs will be to ensure communities get involved with research by participating in, and shaping research, so that it is better aligned to issues that matter to them, and addresses health priorities in Morecambe Bay and Liverpool. By involving distinct communities with lived experience of severe health disparities, we will draw upon communities’ experiences, learning about what research means to them, what areas of research are a priority to them and the barriers they face. Their views can form part of the evidence base for future co-production of research. Community Research Champions will be identified and provided with support, skills and knowledge to build social capital and deliver better research for better health. Additionally, our Community Research Champions will work with researchers to ensure that they are 'community ready' with relevant, co-produced research ideas.

Professor Enitan Carrol, Clinical Director at the Clinical Research Network: North West Coast commented: “We would like to thank all members of the consortium who have contributed to the success of this bid. NHS England has set out an approach to tackle health inequalities through ‘Core20plus5’ and here, in the North West Coast, we are delighted to work with our communities to bring diversity of local participation in research through these new learning and sharing networks. We look forward to hearing about the project outcomes in March 2023.” 

Professor Sarah O’Brien, Chief Nurse, Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board also added: “This is a real opportunity to improve the health outcomes for those communities who live in Morecambe Bay, we are delighted to be working with all the consortium partners and develop a blueprint for how research can be better aligned to address health inequalities.”

Professor Rowan Pritchard-Jones, Medical Director for NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, said: This is a great outcome, which brings potential to shape how our Integrated Care Systems collaborate with the voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise sector. The support of the NIHR in this high quality research, in health inequalities, through co-design and delivery within these communities is an exciting and innovative approach.”

Please contact Greg Woodley, Communications and Engagement Manager, if you would like more information on this project: