The collaboration will see Lancaster’s research used to help improve population health outcomes

Lancaster University is to work with Blackpool Council on a pioneering £5million National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) research collaboration on health inequalities.

The funding is part of a £50m nationwide investment by the Department of Health and Social Care that will see 13 local authorities set up innovative Determinants of Health Research (HDRC) collaborations between experts and academics , to fill knowledge gaps in local areas.

In Blackpool, the project will focus on the daily experiences of residents and the evidence will then inform how city and health services are designed and delivered – with the ultimate aim of improving people’s health. Members of the community will be brought on board to act as co-researchers and ensure that people’s lived experience of health inequities in the city is understood.

Lancaster University, Blackpool Council, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Trust, NIHR and the local voluntary sector will work closely with residents in the following priority areas:

the first three years of life

· lodging

education, employment and skills

· Mental Health

Professor Jo Rycroft-Malone, Executive Dean of Health and Medicine at Lancaster University, said: “We very much look forward to working with our partners in Blackpool on this important regional initiative.

“By working in partnership with our communities to find and use research on the determinants of health, we will accelerate improved outcomes for people in the region.”

Cllr Lynn Williams, Head of Blackpool Council added: “We are delighted to have received this money which will fund key research projects which will essentially look at health inequalities in Blackpool and how best to tackle them.

“Blackpool is known for many fabulous things; its entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, world famous illuminations and beautiful beaches to name a few. However, unfortunately it is also known to have a low life expectancy and health inequalities and we want to change that.

“This project will give us a unique opportunity to truly collaborate with the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), Lancaster University, Blackpool University Hospitals, voluntary organizations and the people of Blackpool to identify major health issues in Blackpool and using this research to inform policies and services that will support our communities in the best possible way.

Professor Enitan Carrol, Clinical Director of the NIHR Clinical Research Network: North West Coast, said: “We are delighted to hear of the success of our colleagues at Blackpool Council in the Health Determinants Research Collaboration funding appeal. (HRDC).

“The Blackpool HDRC will serve as a model for co-production with local authorities to create a fairer community for all. The vision is for Blackpool to become recognized nationally and internationally as a center for research co-produced by local government and the academic sector, to support evidence-based community regeneration, using a systems approach.

“This funding will serve as a catalyst for research to help address health inequities in the city, region and beyond. Congratulations to everyone involved in this significant achievement, this is great news for Blackpool and the city’s local communities.

Community Co-Researcher Conal Land added: “To hear that Blackpool has been successful in applying for HDRC funding is hugely exciting. This means that the city’s youth will have the resources to undertake research and advocate on behalf of their peers and community.

“It means we can continue to co-produce research, alongside community members who have been underserved by research before, to ensure no one feels left behind. Opportunities like these are vital to bringing about real, lasting change and giving voice to the people of our city. We can’t wait to get started.

The project will ensure that it shares its work across the city and will specifically hold annual learning events to allow a wide range of people to be part of its continued development.

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