PHRC Phase 1 (2005-2011) projects – Projects related to children and young people

Young People's Group – PEAR: Our Voices, Our Health (Young People's Public Health Reference Group)


Catherine Shaw, NCB


There is a considerable body of research on public health and young people, but often young people have not been actively involved in the planning or process of this research. In 2008, following a pilot project (see below), NCB (National Children's Bureau) received an award from the Wellcome Trust for a project to support children and young people to contribute to the UK public health agenda by:

  • Helping young people to learn about, inform and influence public health research and policy
  • Developing links between young people and public health researchers and policy makers
  • Producing and distributing information about public health issues and research to young people
  • Demonstrating the impact of young people's involvement in public health research, and how this can be applied to policy and practice

The project, now known as PEAR, comprises 22 young people aged 12-17 in two groups based in London and in Leeds. Both groups meet 3-4 times a year during school holidays, and have a joint residential in the summer.

The groups have received training in public health and research skills, and are working with public health researchers on a variety of projects, including systematic reviews and project proposals. They have also agreed their priority areas for public health research, been involved in the project evaluation, informed the development of the project website (see below), and planned a small research project which they are commissioning. The group are also organising a conference for public health researchers and policy makers and young people, which will take place in October 2010.

News and Updates

  • November 2009: PEAR group are commissioning their own research project. Deadline 6/1/10
  • September 2009: PEAR website launched:
  • Summer 2009: article on the group in special edition of INVOLVE newsletter focused on children and young people's involvement
  • April 2009: PEAR group members present workshop on 'Involving young people in research – making an impact in public health' at the HSPRU conference 'Critical Perspectives on User Involvement'.
  • Project progress report October 2009

Pilot project

The Young People's Public Health Reference Group was established in November 2005, aiming to develop ways through which young people can contribute the UK's public health agenda, particularly in relation to population and public health research. It is facilitated and hosted by NCB with support from the Department of Health's Public Health Research Consortium and INVOLVE. The reference group, which comprises 15 young people reflecting the diversity of young people in London, met eight times during the project. Through a range of discussions and activities the group identified priority public health topics from a young person's perspective, worked with INVOLVE, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and with PHRC researchers on specific activities related to their research, undertook training in research methods and assisted with the design and dissemination of implementation materials of public health analyses (see 'how healthy are children and young people in England' below).

How healthy are children and young people in England?

This four-page leaflet was compiled for the Association of Public Health Observatories by the Young People's Public Health Reference Group with the aim of distributing it to every secondary school in the country.

November 2005 - November 2010 (61 months)