By Beth Downes Summer 2022
Do you ever wonder what it’s like to be a young or older person living in a community along the coast? Well, the University College London (UCL) are working with Young Advisors in North East Lincolnshire on a research project to find out what young and older people feel about their experiences of growing up near the seaside.
Starting in April and ending in October 2022, researchers hope to observe how our personal experiences and future aspirations are impacted by where we grow up. The research project is inspired by a series of research reports brought to light recently by newspapers like the Daily Mail and The Guardian.
One report shockingly reads coastal towns are places that tend to be economically deprived with salaries
being amongst the lowest in Great Britain. This is thought, in part, to be the result of limited transport links, education and employment opportunities in the surrounding areas. With focus groups, community walks and interviews, the researchers hope to share the understanding from the research and help brighten the horizons for young people living there.
When I first asked my friend Tomos about what he hoped to get out of his involvement as a young researcher in the project, he mentioned how he wanted to develop his social interaction skills and gain new acquaintances. However, he added that it sparked his interest as to what Grimsby used to be like after seeing pictures, meeting, and hearing the memories of those who were teenagers here decades ago. This started when he helped lead the first initial focus group at Grimsby’s ABP Port Offices, back in May with fellow young researchers. The research team includes five young researchers, community workers and graduate trainees with researchers from UCL to enhance the research project.
In order to understand what it’s like for those who live along the coast, there is a myriad of workshops and activities for people to be involved in. The activities include desktop research and training, hosted by UCL. This in turn will give our young researchers from North East Lincolnshire a chance to gain skills in public engagement which is something they’ve likely never done before professionally. Next, there are three workshops that are held for two hours where young researchers worked in partnership with UCL and local support workers to co-produce their fieldwork.
Afterwards, three community workshops as well as three community walks are now underway for anyone to join! In addition, the researchers will be going out to groups who already meet to take the research activity to them, where they already are. These are all taking place from May to July. The five young researchers are leading the one-to-one interviews and focus groups, along with community walks, whereby the participants can learn more about Grimsby, through a guided tour whilst sharing their thoughts and experiences along the way. Imagine walking through North East Lincolnshire and learning new-found facts about your hometown at the same time as sharing your stories with others!
Following the first few events, outreach and promotion has continued through social media, radio, and blogs; just like these. Through promoting online and in local colleges and local community groups, researchers hope to develop a clear understanding of what it’s like to live in a local coastal town. Lastly, events will be held at local universities in September including an exciting event to share findings.
Findings will also be shared through infographics. Over the course of six months, UCL and young researchers will paint the picture of what’s it’s like to live in North East Lincolnshire – whether that’s reminiscing on the past or creating and influencing a bright future for our next generations, this project will provide an opportunity to influence great change!