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Essex pupils design posters to promote importance of clinical research

04 July 2019

Health Care

A group of pupils from an Essex school have designed a suite of striking posters to encourage people to take part in NHS research.

The sixth-form pupils at Shoeburyness High School have produced the posters following a design project which has run since the turn of the year, showing how research can help families stay together.

The posters have just gone on public display in the main corridors at Southend University Hospital, following a link-up between the school, hospital and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), England's largest funder of health and social care research.

The sixth-formers studying either biology, art or media studies, have been working on the posters since January under the guidance of deputy headteacher, Mark Smith. They carried out some research and then created some outline ideas, before choosing their favourite designs in collaboration with representatives from the NIHR.

The project idea began last year when Graham Reeder, from Leigh-on-Sea, who taught in Southend before he retired and is a former trustee of the school's academy, approached Mr Smith, with the idea of asking the pupils to help design posters promoting research.

Graham, who is a Patient Research Ambassador for the NIHR and was a patient who took part in a clinical trial at Southend University Hospital, said: "It's great to see the pupils from the school embracing this project so wholeheartedly. Research saves lives and the posters show evocatively why continuing to improve healthcare is so important."

All the posters in the finished project show a group of people together and Mr Smith said: "All of the students - and myself - liked the idea of showing how medical research keeps families together, the impact of research ultimately being to save the lives of people who have husbands and wives, sons and daughters.

"That's why all the posters have a nice photograph showing people being together. We also wanted the photos to reflect our locality and what's it's like to live in Southend and Shoeburyness, hence the photos by the beach. This project was very much a team effort."

NR 33b (2019)

Many of the 12 pupils involved appear in the images as well. One of those was Abbey Tindley, aged 17, from Westcliff-on-Sea, who hopes to become an occupational therapist.  She said: "We've learnt how vital clinical research is to those receiving it and the NHS, without it you don't get clinical advances. Everybody knows someone who could benefit from being involved in research, so we just wanted to help raise its profile. Who knows, we may even benefit from past research or need it ourselves, one day."

The hospital's Medical Director, Neil Rothnie, spoke to the pupils when they came in to show off their hard work, and he was suitably impressed at their designs and the message they will help spread. Mr Rothnie said: "I think it is a great idea to involve local schools in things like this, it also raises awareness among young people about research, which I think is critically important.

"They are huge influencers in our world and they can use social media to influence others and also have influence on their parents and grandparents, so that when they are attending hospital they can encourage them to be involved in research and not be frightened of it."

In addition to the beachside images, the posters also contain a link to the NIHR's newly-launched Be Part of Research website, which allows people to get information about research taking place in their area: www.bepartofresearch.nihr.ac.uk.