Things people do: volunteering citizenship and public health
Professor South's lecture will look at the role of the citizen in public health - how people can be involved in local action and what is the nature of that contribution. Jane will draw on her research with individuals involved in health programmes and will discuss some of the varied roles that people take on.
Professor South's research has shown that the bridging role, where volunteers help others access services and connect to social networks, can be part of a strategic approach to improve health and address health inequalities. The lecture will take place at 5.30pm in Leeds Metropolitan University's Rose Bowl.
Professor South explains: "The premise that the poorer you are the more likely you are to have poor health - is linked to power imbalances in society where many people have little control over their health and their lives. At a population level, those with the highest health needs often face the biggest barriers to accessing public services. In this lecture I'll be discussing the implications for policy, practice and research. Local action needs to be supported by public services, but I'll be cautioning against formalising all roles as community identity and the independence of the volunteer are critical factors in working effectively with communities. What is required is a shift in thinking, based on a broader recognition of the citizen contribution, and systems that enable connections between what people do in communities and how decisions are made.
Professor Jane South is Professor of Healthy Communities in the Institute for Health and Wellbeing at Leeds Metropolitan University, where she leads a research programme on community health, volunteering and active citizenship. Jane started her professional life as a nurse, moving into health promotion research fifteen years ago. Since 2006, she has been the Director of the Centre for Health Promotion Research in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences, where she has built a portfolio of research, along with evaluation and planning frameworks for public health practice. Jane has a national and international profile for her work on lay health worker and volunteer roles and continues to champion innovative public engagement work with local communities.
Jane has a long-standing interest in community engagement and is the lead author of 'People-Centred Public Health', recently published by the Policy Press. She is committed to promoting equity in health and has worked to establish a community campus partnership initiative to strengthen links between the Institute for Health and Wellbeing and local communities.