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During the course of 2020, Alder Hey CRF’s young people’s research group, Generation R Liverpool was a partner in a European funded project to involve children and young people in the development of a research based tool kit to be used widely across Europe.
The multimedia toolkit was designed and developed with young advisory group members from both Alder Hey in Liverpool and Sant Joan de Deu in Barcelona supported by both Liverpool and Barcelona Universities. The European Institute of Innovation funded project YEAH, Young Engagement in Health Science ran for 12 months across Europe with a series of co-creation workshops planned in Liverpool, Barcelona, Paris and Berlin involving eight young people.
Core learning objectives for the toolkit design included developing knowledge and understanding about clinical trials, teaching how clinical trials are developed, increasing communication and critical thinking skills in young people while allowing a new sense of empowerment to develop leading to active participation in health research for young people.
The project started well in early February with the first interactive workshop hosted in Liverpool. The Barcelona team met our young people in the setting of Central library and from the start a great team began to grow. After a day of teambuilding across various key Liverpool locations the first co-creation workshop was held the following day at Alder Hey’s Institute in The Park.
While excitement grew about workshop two and our planned visit to the Sant Joan de Deu Children’s Hospital in Barcelona, the project was hit dramatically with the arrival and impact of Covid-19. All the young people and team involved showed resilience and huge skill in adapting quickly to online working. Over the course of the next three workshops now delivered online, all of our young people showed huge commitment and passion for the project and things settled quickly into a new and productive way of working.
All four workshops have allowed our young people to engage with many key aspects of health research and play an equal role in the development of the YEAH online toolkit to share this learning. These have included the drug development process, ethics and young people, QoL measures, Risk V Benefits, Patient Reported Outcomes/Measures and health literacy.
Both groups from each hospital have played a crucial role in developing an interactive tool kit that will educate and empower young people from across Europe to understand how and why they can become involved and have their voices heard within health research. Containing online resources, guidance, lesson plans, quizzes, games and animations for 12-18 year olds, the toolkit will be accessible for YPAG’s, schools and colleges. The findings of our work will be available next year with a child-friendly summary and publications.
Our young people hugely enjoyed the project and opportunity to work with their European counterparts developing something that will be so useful for many other young people. The disappointment of not being able to work face to face soon gave way to a feeling of friendship and strong teamwork as the young people tackled every aspect of the project with enthusiasm and determination.
We are pleased that building on the success of this year, we have received further funding for a European young people led technology project for 2021.
We think that we have all learnt so much from this year along with our young people and are excited for this to begin.
Alder Hey Children's Charity