Barnardo’s to help tackle children’s health equity through launch of new Collaborative Institute of Health Equity

Barnardo’s and the UCL Institute of Health Equity (IHE) are partnering with three Integrated Care Systems (ICS) throughout England to boost childhood health by addressing health inequalities, informing best practice and influencing local Government and NHS decision makers on how to provide effective care in their communities.

The organisations are launching a three-year Collaborative with ICSs in Birmingham and Solihull, Cheshire and Merseyside, and South Yorkshire to tackle the health challenges facing the children and young people in each area.

Barnardo’s, the UCL IHE and each ICS will work together to develop a new Children and Young People’s Equity Framework. This will use regional data and insight to develop actions which will help people overcome the societal barriers which can hinder good physical and mental health.

This will be informed by key input and insights from young people in each region, gained through face-to-face workshops and digital communication channels so that they can have a say on the issues which matter the most to them. It is hoped that this will create and sustain good health and wellbeing in each region.

Rukshana Kapasi, Director of Health for Barnardo’s, said: “We are delighted to be launching this pioneering Collaborative to address the barriers which people face in order to achieve good physical and mental health. We have long known that poor health at a young age can have a negative impact on people’s opportunities in later life. The current pressures on the NHS, alongside the cost-of-living crisis, is just making matters worse.

“Through this Collaborative, we hope to identify and provide practical solutions to these issues in a way which embeds the voices of children and young people into all we do. We look forward to helping to ensure that children and young people can any overcome negative circumstances they may be born into and enjoy happy and healthy futures.”

Each ICS will focus on a particular area of health equity which is impacting children and young people in that region, which will be determined later this year as the Collaborative gets underway.

Dr Nicola Jay, Clinical Lead for the South Yorkshire Children and Young People’s Alliance, said: “Being part of this Collaborative will allow us to better understand our population, where there is need and what good provision looks like. By viewing our services through the eyes of our children and their families, can we help to make meaningful change happen. We know that building back communities is essential for developing a positive healthy heritage to pass on to the next generation. So, we’re looking forward to working with Barnardo’s and all partners to bring about real change.”

The Collaborative, which brings together senior stakeholders from across the healthcare sector1, will be chaired by Professor Sir Michael Marmot. He is the Director of the UCL Institute of Health Equity and has been a leading authority on health inequalities for more than 50 years.

Professor Sir Michael Marmot said: “Long-term increases in child poverty, the cost-of-living crisis and the unaffordability of childcare all work to make a healthy childhood more elusive for some families. Within these circumstances, committed action by Barnardo's and Integrated Care Systems at a local level will make a difference to children’s lives now as well as their prospects for the future. Our aim is to provide evidence of what works so that it can change practice and improve health and well-being of all our children.”

For more information visit: Children and Young People’s Health Equity Collaborative | Barnardo's (barnardos.org.uk)

Notes to editors

Last year Barnardo’s provided essential support to over 357,000 children, young people, parents and carers through more than 790 services and partnerships across the UK.

 We provide vital support to the children and families who need us most, to help with a range of issues including mental health, child sexual abuse and children in care.

We listen to children and young people and work to bring about positive change so that they can have a brighter future.

Visit www.barnardos.org.uk to find out more.

Call the 24-hour press office number on 020 8498 7555.

Registered charity No. 216250 and SC037605.

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1- The Collaborative brings together:

  • Prof Sir Michael Marmot, Director, UCL Institute of Health Equity Co-Chair
  • Rukshana Kapasi, Director of Health, Barnardo’s, Co-Chair
  • Lisa Stalley-Green, Deputy CEO and CNO, SRO Birmingham and Solihull ICS
  • Christine Douglas, Director of Nursing and Care, SRO Cheshire and Merseyside ICS
  • Will Cleary-Gray, Executive Director of Strategy and Partnerships, SRO South Yorkshire ICS
  • Dr Bola Owolabi, Director of Health Inequalities Improvement, NHS England 
  • Dr Camilla Kingdon, President Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
  • Dr Habib Naqvi, Director, Race and Health Observatory
  • Dr Matthew Clarke / Simon Kenny, Children and Young People, NHS England
  • Richard Owen, Deputy Director CYP Transformation, NHS England
  • Wendy Nicholson, Deputy Chief Nurse, Office for Health Improvement and Disparities
  • Sally Burlington, Director of Policy, Local Government Association
  • Igraine Rhodes, Head of Programmes, EE Foundation
  • Martin Dennys, Programme Director, NHS Digital
  • Stephen Oversby, Director of Children’s Services, Barnardo’s


The UCL Institute of Health Equity has published a series of global, national and local reviews of health inequalities since its inception in 2011. The IHE is led by internationally renowned epidemiologist Professor Sir Michael Marmot.

The IHE’s work sets out how social, economic and environmental conditions – or ‘social determinants’ – shape health to a much greater extent than healthcare does, and how inequalities in these social determinants lead to widespread inequalities in health.

The IHE works with national and local governments, the NHS, public health bodies, the voluntary sector and communities to embed effective approaches to reducing health inequalities.

UCL Institute of Health Equity media enquiries: Felicity Porritt

E: f.porritt@ucl.ac.uk T: 07739 419219

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