Strong Communities, Healthier People

Strong Communities, Healthier People will build on a legacy of social science-informed community-based research over the last ten years in two of the Welsh Government's Communities First clusters.

The aim is to develop and pilot a sustainable model of collaborative research, education, engagement, knowledge exchange and impact between the University and local communities. Nationally, the project works with Welsh Government, the NHS in Wales, as well as the Communities First network and the Wales Council for Voluntary Action.

The development of a model within two Communities First clusters (one in Merthyr Tydfil and the other in Cardiff) will be followed up by a period of evaluation before it is rolled out to the remaining Communities First clusters within the two University Health Board areas.

The Welsh Government's clusters exist to narrow the economic, education and skills, and health gaps between Wales's most deprived and more affluent areas.

Troerchy resident

In the first instance Strong Communities, Healthier People will pilot this partnership approach in Butetown, Riverside and Grangetown in Cardiff and in North Merthyr Tydfil. Each of the two areas has its own distinct history, geography, economy and identity, but they share similar levels of poverty and social and economic exclusion.

In addition to a more engaged approach to research, the project will utilise the full assets of communities and universities to improve the circumstances and opportunities for people living in Cardiff's city-region as well as for our staff and students.

These will include:

  • opportunities to develop new interdisciplinary courses generated through new ways of working across our Colleges and Academic Schools
  • routes into undergraduate and postgraduate programmes for members of communities normally under-represented in higher education and for public sector staff in Masters and Professional Doctorate programmes
  • development of the revised undergraduate C21 programme for medical students, as well as opportunities for other students through placements in community settings
  • development of research which allows for the testing of innovative forms of engagement, data collection, analysis and interpretation
  • opportunities for the University to identify ways in which it can best utilise the existing skills of local communities in terms of its employment and training practices
  • opportunities to develop sustainable, reciprocal relationships with local communities in which benefits are understood by all participants and which avoids the feeling that experts are being parachuted in.