Sharing all the latest news and views from across the ActEarly teams
AntennAE heading
Issue 7 – July 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. Please note that the e-bulletin will be taking a break in August and will return in September.

Upcoming opportunities and news

Diary dates

Methods club is taking a short summer break and will return in September with a new programme of speakers.

Job vacancies

There are currently no jobs being advertised. 

As new jobs are listed they can be viewed on our LinkedIn page or via our website
Sarah O Toole Photo

Meet the team

SAY hello to Sarah O'TooleSarah is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Transport Studies at University College London. She is supporting the ActEarly Healthy Places theme in understanding how the built environment can impact children’s health and wellbeing. Sarah is a developmental psychologist with a background in conducting mixed methods research to support the health and development of vulnerable children and children with special educational needs and disabilities. Prior to joining ActEarly, she has been involved in research projects surrounding safe and active mobility, such as supporting the independent mobility of young people with special educational needs and commuting during pregnancy. In addition, she has recently worked on projects to understand the impact of the COVID-19 on families with a young child in South East London.
Open Space June 2022

ActEarly open space meetings

The first Open Space Meeting in Bradford took place on 16th June and went really well.  Members of the public said they found the format really useful and the information very interesting.  Equally, colleagues found the informal interaction a good way to communicate with people about their research.  The key purpose of the Open Space meeting was to create dialogue between communities and researchers as described in our ActEarly Co-production Strategy.  We have reviewed some feedback about the event and will make future Open Space meetings even better.  There is a short video clip made by Bradford 4 Better TV where 3 colleagues are talking about their work at the Open Space Event. You can view that here.
Co-production week takes place from 4th - 9th July. Follow us on Twitter@ActEarlyCities for extracts from our strategy and how we are applying them to our work.

Tower Hamlets housing

Exploring the intersections between housing and neighbourhood environments for enhanced child wellbeing through parental lived experiences

The ActEarly Healthy Places theme has worked in partnership with the Bromley by Bow Centre (BBBC) in Tower Hamlets, and with Well Bradford, Connecting Roma and Greener Girlington in Bradford, to recruit parents of children aged 2-12 for a mixed-methods study exploring how the home environment can work in synergy with, or be exacerbated by, physical or social aspects of the local area. Initial findings from Tower Hamlets are published online, and were also discussed at a community event led by BBBC, to further understand local priorities and intervention opportunities. Overall, the study highlights how poor living environments within and outside the home are further exacerbated by delays in repairs and poor landlord support, and by housing costs. These issues deeply affect the wellbeing of an entire generation of disadvantaged children whose parents feel disempowered, neglected and often isolated when attempting to tackle various dimensions of inequalities. Interventions which can improve the quality of housing, and access to space and services indoor and outdoor are urgently needed, as well as initiatives to support and empower individuals and local communities. Study findings were also shared with the local community in Bradford at a recent Open Space event. For further information about the project, please contact

Map of fast food outlets

Measuring exposure in the built environment 

A team of researchers from our Healthy Places theme is working on novel ways to measure and simulate the exposure of children to and within the built environment. The aim is to provide a data resource that can capture the features and qualities of every child’s environment. We use a child’s residential address, the location of their school and the neighbourhoods surrounding these to gather environmental information on air quality, noise levels, the amount of traffic, the level of greenness, building density, the availability of parks and public transport, and the number of fast-food outlets, among others. We then link this data to individual-level health information from the longitudinal cohort survey Born in Bradford alongside data from Connected Bradford, a large database gathering health information from more than 800,000 residents across Bradford. With this rich dataset, we can start to look into relationships between the environment and the health of the city’s children. Our team includes researchers from UCL (Laura Vaughan, Kimon Krenz) and BIHR (Rosie McEachan, John Wright, Kuldeep Sohal), as well as contributions from the private sector firm WSP (Ashley Dhanani). The team is currently investigating if exposure to fast-food outlets affects children's weight, a topic of high policy relevance that also links up with our Food and Healthy Weight theme. The next steps include expanding the application to investigate causal relationships between exposure to air pollution and the development of respiratory diseases like asthma in children. While we are piloting this approach in Bradford, we are also exploring how the developed methods can be applied to ActEarly’s sister site, Tower Hamlets, London.

Have we got research news for you!

Here is a small snapshot of recent outputs related to ActEarly

Income, ethnic diversity and family life in East London during the first wave of the pandemic: an assets approach

Read More

Tackling Poverty: The Power of a Universal Basic Income

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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