Sharing all the latest news and views from across the ActEarly teams
AntennAE heading
Issue 4 – April 2022
Improving our two-way communications
HELLO AND WELCOME to the latest edition of AntennAE, our regular monthly e-bulletin to keep everyone involved with ActEarly up-to-date with all our latest news. We have fellow researchers, exploring the complexities of ant communication, to thank for its title. It was they who discovered that ants not only pick up information through their antennae but also use them to convey social signals. It was the first time antennae have been found to be a two-way communication device, rather than just a receptor. So we very much hope that as well reading our news, you will share your updates too – and contribute to our future success. 
Please email with your news, stories, events and notices by the last Friday of the month at 12 noon.

Upcoming opportunities and news

Diary dates

WEDNESDAY May 4th May – Methods Club. Guest speaker is Elizabeth Stokoe from Loughborough University. Details to follow on our website.


Congratulations to ActEarly co-production team member Shahid Islam who was awarded the ‘2021 Chief Scientific Officer’s Excellence in Healthcare Science Research and Innovation Award’. Read all about it!

Research vacancies at ActEarly, Bradford:

1) Research Data Analyst - 2 years – band 6
2) Senior Research Fellow - 2 years – band 7
3) Qualitative Research Fellow - 2 years – band 6
Adriana Ortegon

Meet the team

SAY hello to Adriana Ortegon. Adriana is a Research Fellow based at the Centre for Transport Studies at UCL and a researcher within the ActEarly Healthy Places theme. Her research focuses on understanding the ways in which the built environment shapes everyday activities and behaviours and the associated impacts it can have on child health and wellbeing. In the context of the Healthy Places theme, her research involves using quantitative and qualitative methods, and close collaborations with practitioners in Tower Hamlets and Bradford councils, to evaluate policies and interventions such as the Health Impact Assessment policy and the School Streets programme to identify strategies to create healthier streets and neighborhoods for children in these areas.

Healthy Learning: Community Action in Holmewood

Holmewood is a highly deprived neighbourhood within Bradford and has been the focus of several recent data science projects. The research was co-produced with community members and findings highlighted issues such as significant food insecurity, poor oral health and high rates of children’s mental health referrals. These findings have formed the basis of co-produced community meals where the metaphor of “recipes” has been applied to foster discussion and collaboration with local residents and a range of agencies resulting in a number of community action plans that aim to tackle problems identified by the research. Given the great success of the project, we hope to replicate this approach in other similar neighbourhoods around Bradford and plan to write this work up into an academic paper. A video has been produced as a tool for community engagement, and at the end of the project this will help to showcase this exciting work.

Co-production in ActEarly: Nothing About Us Without Us

Co-production has become a desirable destination for many which can only be reached by putting communities in the driving seat.  However, we found the route to get there is more complicated than travelling from A to B. We have produced a strategy which will act as a compass and map to direct us there.   This strategy on co-production was itself co-produced which gives a voice to communities and offers values, guiding principles and practical tips that will help us on this journey towards achieving solid partnerships with our communities to improve health and wellbeing. Read the new strategy here.
Reflecting connecting in Tower Hamlets

Reflecting, connecting

A major effect of the Covid-19 lockdowns for families in Tower Hamlets was a loss of connection with their neighbours, friends and local institutions.* To explore families' understandings of connection as they move out of the pandemic, the Bromley by Bow Centre worked with audio producer Sarah Cuddon and local families to record "Reflecting, Connecting". These recorded questions and answers between parents and children were then used as a prompt in workshops with other families, to start their own conversations about restoring connection and taking learning from the pandemic. Listen to the audio here.

* (This is further explored in "What Makes the Best Start in Life?", a recent community research report on families' priorities for their children, undertaking during 2020-21.)

Have we got research news for you!

Here is a small snapshot of recent outputs related to ActEarly

Public Health in Local Government: Celebrating 10 years of transformation.
Interview with Somen Banerjee, Director of Public Health at Tower Hamlets council.
Read more
Changes in children’s wellbeing in Bradford during COVID-19: The Born in Bradford COVID-19 longitudinal research study
Read More

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ActEarly are working with local communities, local authorities and other national organisations to understand how we can help families live healthier and more active lives.

This work was supported by the UK Prevention Research Partnership, an initiative funded by UK Research and Innovation Councils, the Department of Health and Social Care (England) and the UK devolved administrations, and leading health research charities. Read more
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