Sharing all the latest news and views from across the ActEarly teams
AntennAE heading
Issue 9 – October 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

Methods club, October 19th at 11am 'Synthetic controls: Methods and Applications?' Dr. Javier Gardeazabal, University of the Basque Country. Register here

Job vacancies

PhD studentship: The Built Environment and Adolescent Mental Health. Click for more details.
Research Associate/ Research Fellow - epidemiologists at York University. Click for more detail
Research Fellow/ Act Early - 70%FTE at UCL. Please email Claire Cameron for details.

As new jobs are listed they can be viewed on our LinkedIn page or via our website
Natalia Concha Arango

Meet the team

Say hello to Natalia. Natalia is a Qualitative Research Fellow working with the Food and Healthy Weight theme focusing on free school meals, based at Queen Mary University of London. Trained as a sociocultural psychologist, she joins us from the London School of Economics (LSE), where she completed her PhD and worked as a Research Officer in a UKRI-MinCiencias grant.  She has experience in qualitative and evaluation research in UK policy research on health promotion, diversity and inclusion programmes. Her research interests focus on maternal and child health; family dynamics; youth development under contextual adversity and women’s reproductive health.

Healthy Livelihoods theme update

University of York researchers estimate that in October 38.1% of households will be in fuel poverty (i.e., spending more than 10% of their income on fuel). By April 2023, unless the government enacts further financial support, that will rise to 62.5% of all households, and almost one third of households will be spending more than 20% of their income on fuel. At the same time, interest rates on mortgages are rising, food costs are spiralling upwards and wages are stagnating.  Professor Kate Pickett, who co-leads the ActEarly Healthy Livelihoods theme, is now chairing the York Cost of Living Research Group. Funded by the Research England Policy Support Fund to the University and supported by The York Policy Engine, this will provide a platform for urgent collaborative and complementary research on how the cost of living is affecting people, business and society through the coming winter. Research projects now underway include: a comparative monthly survey throughout the winter of adults in England and France to understand how the cost of living crisis is affecting mental health; real-time research with families living on low incomes and larger families; modelling impacts on poverty, including fuel poverty; and integrated strategies for preventing, reducing and ending homelessness.

  • Co-leads for the ActEarly Healthy Livelihoods Theme, Professors Claire Cameron and Kate Pickett, will be leading a session on how Local Authorities can protect and promote health and wellbeing during the cost of living crisis during the ActEarly City Collaboratory workshop on 6th October, 10.30am - 3pm at Toynbee Hall.
  • On 7th October, join a Royal Society of Arts event launching a report on how Universal Basic Income could protect mental health among young adults. Eventbrite sign up
  • Sign up to this webinar on 19th October run by Bradford Council on 'Tackling the cost of living crisis' 
  • Throughout October, the Theme will be taking over the ActEarly Twitter feed @ActEarlyCities.
  • Later in the autumn the Theme will contribute to a cost of living crisis webinar and launch the first of a series of policy briefings.
Sign of the Bradford Clean Air Zone

Clean Air Zone, Bradford

The clean air zone (CAZ) came into effect on 26th September 2022 to reduce harmful pollution affecting Bradford’s residents. Researchers from Born in Bradford and ActEarly, at the Bradford Institute for Health Research, have worked closely with the Local Authority and the local communities within the CAZ to ensure proposed plans are both effective in terms of reducing pollution and to ensure the chosen interventions are appropriate for the communities.
Researchers have led on and supported consultation exercises, surveys, qualitative studies and delivery of workshops to ensure communities are fully part of the plans for the CAZ. With funding from the National Institute for Health and Social Care Research (NIHR), the team will be evaluating the impact of the CAZ on health outcomes and its value for money.  
A recent conversation between a variety of partners who are working on the CAZ was recorded by Bradford4Better TV and now available on Youtube via this link

Photo by note thanun on Unsplash

Urban Forest Schools

Sally Barber and Claire Cameron (ActEarly Play and Physical Activity theme leads) have been successfully awarded an NIHR programme development grant for a highly innovative intervention and evaluation called Urban Forest Schools (UFS). Current densification of the built environment, intense sedentary habits, coupled with the impact of restrictions associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, mean urban children’s wellbeing and physical health is at risk from lack of play and physical activity especially outdoors. The UFS intervention is inspired by the Scandinavian Forest Schools model, which immerses children in natural, green environments, and allows them free rein to play and be active, on a regular basis, but takes the urban environment as the starting point. Using the same principle of immersive regular visits to dedicated urban spaces, the UFS promotes the formation of a durable habit of physically active free play and incidental physical activity through familiarisation with the space. The intervention will target children aged 3-7 years old and will be delivered by primary schools. Starting from January 2023, we will work with regeneration teams and civil society stakeholders in Bradford and Tower Hamlets to influence policy and environment and ‘design in' play to regenerating places, ensuring the suitability of sites for children’s physical activity, play and the delivery of the UFS programme.

Have we got research news for you!

Here is a small snapshot of recent outputs related to ActEarly

Not Going Out: How the cost of living crisis is destroying young people's social lives

Read More

Are free school meals failing families? Exploring the relationship between child food insecurity, child mental health and free school meal status during COVID-19: national cross-sectional surveys

Read More
The art of Patient and Public Involvement: exploring ways to research and reduce air pollution through art-based community workshops – a reflective paper

Read More

Developing a model for health determinants research within local government: lessons from a large, urban local authority
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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