Don’t Stop Believing: Using Animation for Better Communication


Last year, the Kirklees Public Health Intelligence (PHI) team carried out a survey of year 9 students (aged 13 and 14) to gain valuable insight into life as a teenager, including their views and behaviours, especially around aspects of health and wellbeing.

The online survey was co-produced with young people and key stakeholders and distributed to secondary schools for completion. The results were analysed, fed back to schools and partners and used to refresh the local Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA). However, a gap was identified in relation to informing wider audiences of the results, including the participants themselves.

PHI used online software to create a short animation as a method of disseminating key findings in a more innovative and accessible way. The planning, scripting, recording and design were undertaken in conjunction with partners and young people. The look and feel of the animation are an amalgamation of ideas.

The feedback from schools and wider stakeholders has been overwhelmingly positive. Not only can the video be used as a stand-alone report, it can help facilitate further conversations about a variety of important and sometimes sensitive topics.


Val Flintoff, a Kirklees Learning Partner who supports schools as a project manager and consultant, has spoken about the reach of the animation:

“The Kirklees Young People’s Survey animation has been used with senior leaders and Personal, Social, Health & Economic (PSHE) education co-ordinators in Kirklees schools. They plan to use the animation with staff and governors to improve their understanding of health and education priorities across Kirklees and to underpin their planning for evidence based PSHE lessons. It is also being shared with a much wider audience of young people across the region, challenging them to reflect on improvements to their own health and in support of their peers. The animation is engaging for both young people and adults, presenting complex and potentially sensitive and challenging information in an accessible format. It has raised important questions for all stakeholders about the health needs of groups of pupils and it challenges us, in particular, to improve our support for LGBTQ+ young people. I have been engaged with the Kirklees YPS for many years and I am confident this animation will ensure that key information becomes accessible to a wider audience for the first time.”

The primary objectives were to deliver key findings from the YPS to a broad audience in an accessible way, and deliver important health messages to improve awareness that public health is everybody’s business. Previous feedback from young people dictated that traditional methods of dissemination weren’t fit for purpose. Therefore, the PHI team opted for a more fun and appealing approach. It was important that the output could be used by as many people as possible, so it had to be easy to follow, suitable for those with sensory impairments, as well as being sensitive and light-hearted where appropriate.

Mary White, Kirklees Commissioning and Partnerships Manager, utilised the animation to facilitate discussions between partner organisations:

“I used the video at an event for the Children and Young People’s Partnership with a cross-sector audience of colleagues (including front line and senior managers from the council, schools, health sector, voluntary and community sector). The video was the centrepiece of a session looking at data and intelligence to enable participants to understand the needs of our Children and Young People’s population and set shared strategic priorities. The video presents a breadth and depth of complex information accessibly. It worked well to generate an informed, evidence-led discussion, and to give a disparate audience a shared understanding of the issues. Participants commented on its quality and presentation values, with many attendees (including the police superintendent) wanting to use it to raise awareness in their own organisations. It’s voiced by a local young woman who had participated in the survey, which adds to its authenticity.”

Plans are now underway for the 2019 YPS. The animation makes it easier for PHI to contextualise and promote the survey to schools which were previously reluctant to take part. It also provides reassurance to the young people involved that their voices are important and are being heard.

What should LARIA members learn from your award entry?

Taking a different approach to presenting local area research can have wide-reaching benefits:

It can allow the people who participate in social research to better understand their results compared with traditional methods, bridging the gap between the oft-monotony of survey completion and discovering insight.

It can make evidence accessible for a range of audiences and change the thinking behind using it.

It can initiate difficult conversations and facilitate discussion.

It can improve recognition of the survey as a brand and enhance future surveys in terms of having a wider range of stakeholder expertise on board.

It can also be entertaining!

Involving your intended audience in the production process can ensure your final product is appropriate and engaging.

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