Director of Healthy Living, Professor Greta Defeyter (left) and Vice Chancellor Research Fellow, Dr. Pamela Graham

Academics within the Healthy Living Lab at Northumbria have won an award for the work they carried out on school breakfast and holiday clubs, both of which provide a lifeline for busy parents and families. Healthy Living has received the British Psychological Society (BPS) North East of England Public Engagement Award 2017, which is given as recognition of individuals or groups judged to have made an outstanding contribution to the promotion of psychology to the public in the North East.

Research by the Healthy Living Lab at Northumbria University into school breakfast and holiday clubs, which has drawn directly on the views of children, parents and holiday club staff, has shown that breakfast and holiday clubs are recognised as a necessary resource to support families throughout the year.

The impact of this research has resulted in the funding of a number of school breakfast programmes focussing on improved nutritional, educational and social outcomes, and funding to investigate interventions aimed at reducing so called ‘Holiday Hunger’.

The Healthy Living Lab has also received £250 as part of the prize and has been invited to deliver a public lecture on behalf of the BPS at a North East event.

The Healthy Living Lab, directed by Professor Greta Defeyter, has worked hard to ensure there research is widely disseminated through academic publications, newspaper articles, television and the Healthy Living website.

Professor Defeyter said: “The Healthy Living Lab brings together a multidisciplinary team to tackle pressing social issues. As part of our lab’s culture, we have made a strong commitment to engage with different publics so that our research findings could have an impact on policy, practice and the public.

Dr Pamela L. Graham, a Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow, added: “Colleagues within our lab have worked hard to ensure that the views of children, parents and school and community staff are represented throughout our research and are shared as widely as possible. To have the value of this work recognised by the North East Branch of the BPS is an excellent achievement for the whole lab”

The award also covered the work the Healthy Living Lab has carried out with International Centre for Life, in Newcastle; contributions to the 2013 British Science Festival; and bespoke Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programmes including the ongoing work with Kellogg’s online breakfast clubs training.

Nominations recognise the contribution of a BPS psychologist or psychologists engaged in communicating high quality research to the general public in the North East via a range of activities either directly or via a range of broadcast, electronic and print media.

Award winners may include those communicating their own research findings or those who ensure that a range of high quality psychological evidence is. This could be in recognition of consistently good work over a number of years or outstanding contributions in a single year.