NEW RESEARCH PROJECT: Personal Assistance for Intimate Citizenship: A Co-Production Project to improve sexuality-related support for Disabled Young Adults

We are happy to have received some funding from the National Institute for Health’s School for Social Care Research (NIHR SSCR). The study will explore how disabled young adults who employ personal assistants (PAs) experience and understand the support they receive from the perspective of their sexual and gender identities.

The research will also investigate how PAs and social care services can be made more aware of disabled young adults’ support needs in relation to sexuality and gender. This will include looking at what information and support resources might help disabled young adults and their PAs talk about sexuality and gender as part of their care and support arrangements.

The research will be led by Ned Coleman-Fountain who is based at Northumbria University. Disability North in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, who are also part of the team, will support a study of the experiences and training needs of PAs. Co-investigators also include Alex Toft at Nottingham Trent University, David Abbott of the Norah Fry Research Centre at Bristol University, and Bryony Beresford from the Social Policy Research Unit at the University of York. An experienced researcher will be recruited into the team to support the study.

 The research team are committed to user participation in research. A project advisory group of disabled young adults will support the co-production of all elements of the study that build towards the research aims. A call will be put out shortly via social media for disabled young adults who are interested in getting involved in the project to get in touch.

Ned Coleman-Fountain (Project PI) said: “This is an opportunity to explore what is going on for young adults who employ personal assistants. Sexuality and gender are important parts of all young people’s identities, and we want to find out what can be done to improve social care in a way that ensures disabled young adults are able to live full lives. At this current moment of uncertainty, we hope the project can make sure that disabled young adults’ voices are heard on their experiences.”

Victoria Armstrong (Disability North) said: “As a user led organisation, Disability North recognise the value in exploring important issues relating to sexuality which often go undiscussed. This project will help us understand the issues more deeply and will lead to action to enrich the lives of disabled people employing PAs in the future.”

For more information on the research, you can contact Ned: