Second anniversary for Civic Fellowship with AWRC

Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre has celebrated the second anniversary of the Civic Fellowship programme aimed at fostering strong partnerships between local community-based organisations and academic researchers.

Civic Fellowship youth interns and researchers 2024
Civic Fellowship youth interns with AWRC researchers Dave and Charlotte

The Civic Fellowship has enabled research projects between the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) and Darnall Well Being. The Civic Fellowship program is funded by Westfield Health and delivered in partnership with Darnall Well Being and the Darnall Education and Skills Academy (DESA). The focus of the program is on the role of sport and physical activity in raising aspirations, creating improved employability, and enhancing health outcomes for young residents of Darnall.

The project team interviewed community leaders to gain insights into Darnall and explore how sport and physical activity can contribute to social outcomes and improved employment for youth in the area. They also worked with paid youth interns, to understand how young Darnall residents were building resilience in the aftermath of the pandemic. The AWRC recruited 12 interns aged between 16 and 23-years-old and investigated their physical activity, wellbeing, experiences living in the area, and any barriers to employment opportunities.

Themes also included focus on the roles that family, friends, finance and school plays in contributing to leading a fit and healthy life with meaningful employment and contributing to society.

A celebration event to mark the conclusion of the second year of the Civic Fellowship programme was held at the AWRC on Thursday 18 April 2024. At the event, the youth interns presented their research findings and shared their experiences and learnings, highlighting the support they need to achieve their aspirations. 

Civic Fellowship certificate
A Civic Fellowship certificate for the youth interns

Dave Hembrough, project lead and research fellow at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “This Civic Fellowship has been a valuable opportunity to deepen our understanding of the challenges and aspirations of young people in Darnall. By working closely with Darnall Well Being and the local community, we have been able to co-create research that can directly benefit the residents and inform future initiatives.”

Lucy Melleney, CEO of Darnall Well Being, added: “We are pleased to support the second year of the Civic Fellowship as it reflects the shared values and genuine commitment to do things differently.  It places young people’s voice and lived experience at the heart of community-based research and can be a powerful asset in developing our understanding of the needs and aspirations of local young people.”

The Civic Fellowship is part of a set of wider commitments it has made to the region under its Civic University Agreement.

Professor Rob Copeland, Director of the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre said: “The Civic Fellowship program is a testament to Sheffield Hallam University’s commitment to meaningful engagement with the local community. By fostering these partnerships, we aim to create lasting positive impact and ensure that our research and initiatives truly address the needs and priorities of all our communities.”

Find out more about about Sheffield Hallam University’s civic commitments.

Civic fellowships have been established to nurture strong partnerships between local community-based organisations and academic researchers at Sheffield Hallam, as part of the University’s ongoing Civic commitments.

The first Civic Fellowship enables research projects between the AWRC and Darnall Well Being. This partnership enhances the place-based research of the AWRC and has been made possible through the  support of Westfield Health.

The project demonstrated that young adults want to actively contribute to the development and wellbeing of the area and particularly want to engage with each other, building their links and networks to support the whole community.