Our Outdoors

A new citizen science project exploring how shared (public) outdoor spaces affect health and wellbeing. This project is supported by the Medical Research Council (MRC) who in the summer of 2017 selected the project as their citizen science project.

The project aims to

  • understand the impact shared (e.g. public) outdoor spaces have on the health and wellbeing of the public.
  • Investigate whether shared outdoor spaces affect people differently and if so, why and in what ways?
  • Identify the best methods for engaging members of the public in citizen science for public health.

The project has four phases: 1. Developing, validating and refining the questionnaire. 2. Piloting the questionnaire in Edinburgh and the Lothians. 3. Analysis, reporting and dissemination of questionnaire data. 4. Roll out of Our Outdoors across the UK.

Several methods of engagement have been used to collaborate with the public to learn about health and wellbeing in specific shared outdoor spaces. To find out more about these method please go to

The About Our Outdoors poster

Findings from Community Workshops

Our Outdoors at the Edinburgh International Science Festival

Science Bus

NEXT STEPS

Draft questionnaire: The information gathered from public engagement activities is being used to draft a questionnaire to measure people’s health and wellbeing in specific shared outdoor spaces. Validating and testing questionnaire: Once the questionnaire is complete citizen scientists will be engaged to conduct cognitive testing of the questionnaire items.

This will inform a final questionnaire. Questionnaire piloting and public engagement activities will take place in Edinburgh and the Lothians before being rolled out across the UK.

Please contact Kathleen.morrison@ed.ac.uk for further information.

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UPDATE: The ‘Healthy University of the Future’ hackathon


In partnership with University Sport and Exercise and the Physical Activity for Health Research Centre (PAHRC), SCPHRP ran an event during the Festival of Creative Learning to get students to think about health in the university setting and to design solutions to health challenges facing students.
Two teams of students worked on diverse health topics. One team focused on provision of affordable, convenient and healthy food options and the other team focused on targeting computer-related health. Both teams delivered excellent presentations in front of a panel of university and national leaders in public health and student wellbeing and prizes were awarded for innovation, potential for implementation, team work, and quality of presentation.
For further information about the event please email Yvonne Laird at yvonne.laird@ed.ac.uk
A hackathon is a timed competition-style event where teams are expected to get creative and work collaboratively and come up with a design or idea.

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A relaxation resource for kinship carers

Our goal

Our goal was to design a support resource for kinship carers. Kinship carers – often grandparents – are family members who take care of children when the birth-parents are no longer able to care for them due to circumstances such as ill-health, addiction, abuse or bereavement. The kinship carers are often from deprived communities and face numerous hardships, both generally and as a result of their role as kinship carers.

The resource

We worked closely with kinship carers and with organisation Mentor (http://mentoruk.org.uk/mentor-scotland/ ) to design the resource. We learned about the kinship carers’ lives and what issues they faced. A main issue reported was stress. Therefore we designed tailored stress-relief relaxation techniques.   By reducing stress and improving the wellbeing of the carers we hoped that both the relationship between the carer and the teenager, as well as the wellbeing of the teenager, would improve.

The benefits of the resource

The kinship carers have reported that the relaxation skills had a positive stress-reduction effect on them and a positive impact on their relationship with their teenager.

Summary of the relaxation process

  1. Focus the mind here and now
  2. Release tension in the body
  3. Relax with deep steady breathing

Format of the resource

Cathy’s Relaxation Story – A comic and audio CD, both hard copy and online version

Next steps

So far the work has been exploratory and small-scale. Three future steps are:

  1. Develop this programme to include the teenagers directly. Interview the teenagers, and, if appropriate, design tailored relaxation skills
  2. Expand to include different types of families, using the same cyclical and relational model of: improved individual wellbeing = improved relationship = even better wellbeing
  3. Evaluate the resource in order to scale-up and deliver the programme at a national level

If you would like to learn more about the project please email Jane: jane.hartley@ed.ac.uk
 

 
The project is funded by The Robertson Trust

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Latest Projects

Our Outdoors (June 26, 2018)

A new citizen science project exploring how shared (public) outdoor spaces affect health and wellbeing. This project is supported by the Medical Research Council (MRC) who in the summer of 2017 selected the project as their citizen science project. The project aims to understand the impact shared (e.g. public) outdoor spaces have on the health […]

Read More


UPDATE: The ‘Healthy University of the Future’ hackathon (March 12, 2018)

In partnership with University Sport and Exercise and the Physical Activity for Health Research Centre (PAHRC), SCPHRP ran an event during the Festival of Creative Learning to get students to think about health in the university setting and to design solutions to health challenges facing students. Two teams of students worked on diverse health topics. […]

Read More


A relaxation resource for kinship carers (October 18, 2017)

Our goal Our goal was to design a support resource for kinship carers. Kinship carers – often grandparents – are family members who take care of children when the birth-parents are no longer able to care for them due to circumstances such as ill-health, addiction, abuse or bereavement. The kinship carers are often from deprived communities […]

Read More


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