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The University of Southampton
Public Policy|Southampton

Opportunities for Local Involvement in Transformational Adaptation on the English Coast

Project Team 

Project lead: Prof. Maria Carmen Portillo


Project members:

Dr. Leire Ambrosio
Dr. Danielle Lambrick
Prof. Beth Stuart
Ms. Katherine Baker
Mr. Eric Compton
University of Winchester
Dr. James Faulkner
University of Dundee – Scotland
Dr. Jacqui Morris
Swansea University – Wales
Prof. Melitta McNarry
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) – Ireland
Prof. Suzanne McDonough
Mr. Jack Shakespeare
Dr. Matt Wade
Dr. James Steele


Project funder: Wessex Applied Research Collaboration. NIHR 


Policy and research support: Gareth GilesRose Seneviratne


Project Overview

Aim of the research: To understand the impact of COVID-19 and government restrictions on physical activity and mental health of people with long-term conditions, and propose recommendations to support and sustain their physical activity during and after COVID-19 or other pandemics. The findings of our study will inform stakeholder events across the UK including participants and policy-makers to draw action plans together.


Background to the research: People, including those with long-term conditions, were told to use physical distancing, self-isolation and/or shielding during COVID-19 to protect themselves and others. Government guidance on physical activity may or may not have explained to people how to be physically active and take part in exercise during COVID-19. Physical activity has a positive effect on physical and mental health, so understanding the impact of COVID-19 on physical activity behaviours (amount, type and intensity of physical activity, resources) of people with or without long-term conditions is important.


Design and methods used: First, we will gather information about government guidance on physical distancing, self-isolation and/or shielding, and online and offline resources available to support people with long-term conditions to be physically active during COVID-19. Secondly, we will send out an online quantitative data survey to people living with- and without long-term conditions to see what their physical activity and mental health was like during different stages of COVID-19 and what resources they used to stay active. Thirdly, we will interview 50 people (with or without long-term conditions) to gain a deeper understanding of COVID-19 effects on physical activity and mental health, and understand participants' choice of resources to stay active and why some factors may have influenced their physical activity. Finally, findings will inform stakeholder engagement meetings with individuals with long-term conditions and local, regional, and national policy-makers, to co-produce recommendations that will help people living with long-term conditions remain active during and after COVID-19 and other pandemics.


Target audience and dissemination: Study findings will be sent to the House of Lords COVID-19 Committee. We will contact local health authorities such as County Council Health and Well-being boards, and Directors of Public Health. We will work with national patient and professional organisations that support people with long-term conditions to disseminate the findings to their communities. Study findings will be published in international journals and presented at conferences.


Anticipated policy impacts of project 

Findings emerged in this study are unique showing the effect of lockdown restrictions, as well as the barriers and facilitators to PA during COVID-19 for those living with different LTCs. These findings have important implications for policy and guidelines development. Particularly, findings will be used to inform stakeholder engagement meetings with individuals with LTCs and local, regional, and national policy makers, to coproduce person-centred policy recommendations that will help people living with LTCs remain active during and after COVID-19 and other pandemics.


Outputs of project

L Ambrosio, D Lambrick, J Faulkner and MC Portillo. Accessibility and applicability of physical activity guidelines and recommendations for adults living with long term conditions during COVID-19. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH RESEARCH. 2022.


Leire Ambrosio, Danielle Lambrick, James Faulkner, Jacqui Morris, Mari Carmen Portillo. Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on physical activity and mental health in individuals with multimorbidity: an explanatory sequential mixed method study. 7th World Conference on Qualitative Research. Oral communication. February 2023.


Another 2 journal articles pending to be published.


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