National funding secured to increase diversity in health research across Humber and North Yorkshire

NHS Humber and North Yorkshire Integrated Care Board (ICB) has been awarded £150,000 from NHS England to help our coastal communities become more involved in health research.

The Research Engagement Network (REN) programme will build on phase 1 of the programme which took place earlier this year. Coastal Community Health has some of the worst population health in the country, so the first phase of the programme developed an understanding of the needs of populations along our east coast, and started conversations around research involvement.

The funding from NHS England will support phase 2 of the REN programme which will see voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations invited to be trained as Community Research Leads to represent our coastal areas in North Yorkshire, East Riding and North East Lincolnshire.

Following research training for VCSE organisations, the programme plans to recruit, train and support Research Ready Community Champions in their localities to help develop an understanding within communities about why health research is so important.

The programme aims to empower more people to get involved in health research by challenging community myths and by creating a bridge between communities and health systems, as evidence shows that research involvement provides improved health and can increase life expectancy.

Gary Sainty, VCSE Programme Director for Humber and North Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership, commented: “The aim of the REN programme is to work with key partners at a place level to ignite more interest, and participation in research within our communities.

“We’re pleased to have secured further funding to deliver the second phase of the programme as we want to increase the ability for individuals to engage with research as areas with the highest burden of disease also have the lowest number of patients participating in research. This second phase will look to significantly improve participation across areas of high deprivation across Humber and North Yorkshire.”

The programme will be managed by Humber and North Yorkshire’s Integrated Care Board’s VCSE Collaborative who will oversee the collaborations, partnerships and outcomes. The programme will see Humber and North Yorkshire Integrated Care Board working with partners, including the VCSE, National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and York St John University’s new Institute for Health and Care Improvement.

If you would like to know more about the programme, please contact Penny Butcher, VCSE Programme Manager, via email at