Over the last five years Sharon has undertaken various research projects across Portsmouth. Below is a summary of each project and the areas it covered.
Fratton – Big Lottery, Big Local Trust
This is a new project, commissioned by Fratton Federation, following their successful bid to be one of the first 50 areas across the country to receive a grant from the Big Lottery to form a Big Local Trust. The research project involves consulting residents of Fratton ward to discern what they feel the needs are in the area, and to identify what level of service provision currently exists through the statutory, business and voluntary sectors. In addition there will be an assessment of the history of the area and its demographic and economic composition in order to help the Fratton Federation identify the priorities for the Big Local Trust once it has been formed.
As part of the process, Sharon will be involved in recruiting resident volunteers to undertake the consultation and research with her. They will be supported on a Training Course which focuses on the qualities of successful, sustainable communities, in order to develop their skills and understanding. Recruiting local volunteers will ensure that these new skills are embedded in the local area and can be shared with others.
Neighbourhood Management Team, Spring-Summer 2010
Sharon undertook research on behalf of the Neighbourhood Management Team to try and identify any small, independent ‘gingerbread’ groups, as well as other more well-established community groups in the areas of Somerstown, Buckland and Landport. These research tasks were carried out in a very short period of time, due to time constraints, but the work produced was comprehensive none the less.
Somerstown Parish Assessment, Jan-June 2010
Sharon conducted a light-touch research piece for the parish churches of St Luke’s and St Peter’s to explore something of the local history and current position of the locality and what benefit there might be in commissioning a full research project. Although the full research piece did not go ahead at that time, the work proved to be very beneficial in establishing the Somerstown Stories project, and it may in time be re-visited.
What Lies Beneath, CAMHS June 2006
This was a six month research project looking at adolescent mental health in Portsmouth. It was commissioned by the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and included an action research element carried out by HAC a professional counselling service. The research was tendered for and won by Portsmouth City Council Youth Service, and being part of the service, Sharon was commissioned to carry out the research.
One of the key findings was that adult mental health provision was simply not appropriate to meet the needs of young people. At that time the CAMHS service stopped at age 16, but it was agreed that the age limit needed to be extended to 18, to allow for the particular needs of teenagers.
It also highlighted the on-going lack of understanding regarding mental health amongst adults and young people, and where to get support. Although there are a breadth of services in Portsmouth, sometimes finding ways to access these services was difficult.
As part of the report, a strategy was proposed linking mental health service provision across the age groups. This strategy was presented as a continuum, with pro-active prevention work starting with very young babies, using baby signing to enable them to begin to understand and articulate their emotions and extending throughout the Primary and Secondary curriculum.
The Why of Youthwork, PCC Youth Service 2006
This paper was jointly authored with Dave Raper, a colleague in the Youth Service. The paper aimed to explore the ethos of youthwork and the impact of this approach on a young person’s emotional well-being and spirituality. The paper highlighted the value of a young person’s voluntary engagement with youth services, and examined the way that informal education enables young people to develop their personal, social and emotional skills.
It also explored the concept of spirituality or value, place and purpose in each individual, and the ways in which the strengths or weaknesses in these areas might influence a person’s choices, values and decision making.
The paper was presented at the CAMHS Conference in March 2006 and was well received.