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What is a YPAG?

The purpose of a Young People’s Advisory Group (YPAG) is to involve young people and their families throughout the research process, to ensure that the research being undertaken is relevant to, and informed by, young people.

Involving young people from the beginning

During the planning and design stage of the READY Trial we consulted with different groups of young people, in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, about how best to design the research.  The young people we spoke to provided great advice and suggestions, which were incorporated into the design of the READY Trial.

Key aspects of the study design, suggested by young people, include:

  • The size of the groups of 6-10 young people, to reduce social anxiety of too small, or too large, groups;
  • To have a peer support worker for each group, in addition to an exercise coach, to provide emotional support to the young people;
  • To provide a small incentive to young people involved in the study, as a thank you for their participation.

Who are our YPAG members?

  • We currently have 23 YPAG members
  • The READY YPAG is composed of young people from three young people’s groups in the East of England:
    • Young Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire
    • The Youth Council of Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust
    • Breckland Youth Advisory Board (YAB) from Norfolk
  • We are very grateful to the support and enthusiasm of the young people from these groups, and also their youth workers, who support the young people to participate in the YPAG.
  • 16th November 2019 @ a community centre in Cambridge:
    • Ten young people, aged 14-17, and their youth workers joined members of the research team to discuss the research and to get to know each other.
    • The young people developed some shared ground rules and ways of working for the group.
    • We talked about ideas for the intervention social activities and reviewed research ethics documents.
    • The young people did some artwork to design the READY study logo.
  • During lockdown:
    • During the national coronavirus pandemic and lockdown in 2020-21, we have been holding our YPAG meetings over zoom.
    • We are hoping that later in 2021 we can move back to holding face to face meetings, coronavirus restrictions allowing.

You told us, we did…

It is really important to provide feedback to YPAG members on how their advice is making a difference to the READY study. At each meeting, we have a feedback session, with examples of how advice from YPAG members has contributed to decisions about the research.  This has included:

  • Designing the READY study logo;
  • Ideas for non-exercise activities that can be done online (e.g. online quizzes and escape rooms);
  • Testing out questionnaires, to tell us how long they take to complete and whether the language is clear and understandable;
  • Providing advice about social media to tell young people about the study.

For more information about the READY YPAG, please contact: Professor Julia Jones, email: j.jones26@herts.ac.uk

Social media links:

Central Beds Healthwatch:

Website: https://healthwatch-centralbedfordshire.org.uk/young-healthwatch

Twitter: @YoungHWatch 

Facebook: Young Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire

Instagram: @yhwcentralbeds

Breckland YAB:

Website: https://www.map.uk.net/breckland-youth-advisory-board-yab/

Facebook: brecklandyab

Twitter: @YabBreckland

Instagram: @brecklandyab

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