What is ALPHA?
ALPHA stands for Advice Leading to Public Health Advancement. ALPHA is a group of young people aged 14-21 who advise our researchers by discussing and debating their views on public health topics and the research we plan to carry out.
Public health relates to helping people remain healthy and avoid illness. Research topics include diet, nutrition, physical activity and more.
Research is the process used to find out new information that can help in the future.
Why did ALPHA start?
At DECIPHer, we want to improve the health and wellbeing of young people. We believe young people have a right to be involved in research about them and their lives.
Young people are experts in their lives, with different experience, knowledge, insights and capabilities to adult researchers. We started ALPHA because we wanted to bring together a group of young people with a range of experiences and opinions, to help make sure our research reflects what is important to young people. Ultimately, this helps us to improve young people’s health.
Why should you join ALPHA?
There are lots of great reasons to join ALPHA.
You’ll have your voice heard, and have a real impact on research that will help to improve people’s lives.
Through training you’ll learn about research and public health, as well as other life skills. These can help you work out what you want to do next, and build up a good CV or application for college/university.
As a member of ALPHA you will be able to raise your own ideas for the group. This includes where we go on residential and on trips and what research related activities you do outside of the monthly meetings.
Being a member of ALPHA is fun and rewarding, and you’ll meet new people from across Wales and the South West of England.
You get to go on ALPHA’s annual residential, a weekend of fun activities chosen by ALPHA members, to develop new skills and bond as a group.
Travel to and from ALPHA meetings is paid for and organised for you, and food is provided at meetings.
What does it mean to be an ALPHA member?
ALPHA meets once a month on a Saturday for ten months of the year, in Cardiff. In these meetings, researchers ask ALPHA about the research they are doing or will do on public health topics. ALPHA members also have time in meetings to discuss any issues they would like about the group.
ALPHA also goes on a residential weekend every year – past trips have included Canada Lake Lodge, Creigiau and Morfa Bay, Carmarthenshire. The residential allows ALPHA members time to get to know each other better while taking part in research activities and training, and building on key skills. Read more about the 2012 residential here.
Who can join ALPHA?
ALPHA is open to anyone aged 14-21 living in Wales or Bristol. You don’t have to know about public health or research, as you’ll learn about these through fun workshops once you join. All you need is an opinion!
Membership is free, travel to and from meetings is paid for, and lunch is provided at meetings. You’ll also receive shopping vouchers for each monthly meeting, to thank you for your time and input.
ALPHA members have drawn up a constitution, setting out what it means to be part of ALPHA and what is expected of ALPHA members. You can download it here.
What projects has ALPHA worked on?
Since the group started in 2010, ALPHA has been involved in a huge variety of projects, including research on alcohol advertising, drug prevention, school-based health promotion, sexual health, and suicide and self-harm. For more about projects ALPHA’s been involved in, see the examples at the bottom of this page. In the future, the group will get more experience of seeing what it is like to do research, have training on a wider range of skills and have more trips.
Who are the ALPHA staff?
ALPHA is run by DECIPHer, a research centre based jointly at Cardiff, Bristol and Swansea universities. Staff at DECIPHer carry out research projects looking at how to improve the health of young people.
ALPHA members work with research staff and students to make sure their research is about the issues that are important to young people, and the research is run in a way that is acceptable and relevant to young people. ALPHA members learn through fun workshops about research and public health, to help them understand the work of ALPHA so they feel comfortable giving their perspective on research.
ALPHA is supported by three members of staff:
Hayley Reed, our Involving Young People Research Officer
How can you find out more?
The ALPHA information pack has full information about ALPHA and what we do – you can download it by clicking here or on the image below.