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Home » ‘We are all so unique but somehow our ideas all fall into place like a jigsaw puzzle.’ Catching up with team ALPHA

‘We are all so unique but somehow our ideas all fall into place like a jigsaw puzzle.’ Catching up with team ALPHA

  • Blog

Two members of DECIPHer’s youth research group, ALPHA,
tell us what it means to them. Plus, they take us behind the
scenes of ALPHA’s new animation

Isabella Ewings, 17

Are you passionate about making a change to public health research in the UK? Here’s my experience with ALPHA! We analyse UK-wide research and make suggestions of how research can be better tailored for young people. Being part of ALPHA has been an invaluable experience for me: building my confidence, forming friendships, gaining incredible experience for my CV and building skills for my future career. 

One of my favourite things about ALPHA is being able to use my past experiences to make research more accessible and better adapted for young people in the future. It has been so insightful to see how research is conducted and how there are so many different ways of practising research. Through this experience with ALPHA I’m now looking at pursuing a career in research. 

It is incredibly important for youth groups like ALPHA to exist because young people have every right to have their voices heard and share their experiences. A quote I heard recently through another project I take part in is: “Being in a community is so important because your similar experiences are invaluable.” I really do believe that this resonates with the values and ethos of ALPHA, we are all there to make a positive impact on some of the negative experiences we have had whether it be with physical health, mental health or anything else we all have that in common and we have built a tight-knit community that is so supportive. I think every young person in ALPHA has benefited from the experience and I believe that every young person should be a part of a youth group like ALPHA. 

I believe that youth voice is important because we are adapting the world in the way that is best suited for us, we are now living in a world that is entirely different to what it was just 15 years ago. We are the faces of the future and youth voice is at the core of this. By advocating for change we are making the world a better place for us and for future generations. Things will not change if we don’t speak up. 

Public involvement is also important because as a community we are going through these experiences together, by transforming these services we are better tailoring them to our communities’ needs. Public involvement also makes sure research is relevant and meaningful to those it aims to serve. In addition through public involvement there are plenty of opportunities to bring issues (from your community) to light and potentially find a like minded researcher and help in conducting research that is relevant to you and your community.

Overall, ALPHA is a great group to join, even if you don’t have a clue of what public health research is, ALPHA gears you up with so many skills that after a few meetings you will most likely be able to decipher (pun was intended) most of the researcher jargon. I’ve been with ALPHA for four years and some of the jargon still baffles me. It is always really lovely to meet new members and I would recommend ALPHA to anyone. The friends you make and the skills you learn are invaluable to the way that ALPHA runs. But it isn’t just the regular meetings that make ALPHA what it is, it’s also the extra opportunities you get and the connections you make to lead you onto other opportunities.

This is my experience with ALPHA. What will yours be?

Huw Clements, 21

ALPHA stands for Advice Learning to Public Heath Advancement. People who live in Wales who are aged between 11 to 25 can attend. This blog will explain what ALPHA is.

I found out about ALPHA by someone telling me about it. I have been a member for nearly three years. I was interested in joining because I could learn more about smoking and mental and physical health, etc. I have managed to attend most of the ALPHA sessions since I joined.

I enjoy ALPHA because I have made new friends and learned about important topics. It has also given me the opportunity to see some of my existing friends that attend the same time as me. The group discussions have been good because I can learn from other people’s suggestions.

ALPHA is important because it gives members a chance to get together and learn about new things. The Youth voice is important for ALPHA because it can find out which person is currently taking part in ALPHA and it can check who is taking part in the ALPHA sessions. So, the young people can be recognised while participating in ALPHA sessions. Public involvement work is important because it can ensure that people are safe around the world and that they have good mental health.

I enjoyed creating the animation inviting new people to join the ALPHA group, and visiting the studio. It was good that I participated in the voiceover session because I managed to say most of the words clearly.

Meeting new friends and learning new topics has been the best thing as a part of the ALPHA group because it gives me an opportunity to have group discussions about the topic that has been explained during the ALPHA sessions.

Find out more about ALPHA here:

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