Previous research, including Natural England's Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE), has shown that the benefits from accessing the natural environment are not equally distributed across society. For instance, between 2013-15 interviews with parents for the national MENE survey found that 65% of children from lower income households visited the natural environment frequently, compared to 77% children from higher income households. Yet, we know very little about how young people perceive the coastal environment and how they use it. It is envisaged that successful completion of the research will result in Natural England and partners having invaluable evidence to inform the development of potential interventions associated with Living Coast in the future. This research will focus on a diverse sample of children and young people (aged 11-18) living close to the coast and the England Coast Path who (we suspect from MENE) are less likely to be using or benefiting from the coastal natural environment. We envisage that the research will be carried out through a collaboration with local community organisations who work with young people and Natural England will assist in facilitating this collaboration. Importantly, this process will require that expectations are managed with regards to the long-term nature of the wider Living Coast project. Acknowledging the importance of hearing from young people themselves, a key objective of this research will be to give voice to young people. We want to understand what affordances and other benefits they derive or would like to derive from the coastal environment. This social science research will focus in on an economically deprived coastal area to understand young people's perceptions about, uses of and barriers to using the natural environment and the coast. We wish to develop insight to inform future decision-making and design of interventions aiming to encourage greater access to the coastal environment.
Published: 25 Jul 2018, Receipt by: 22 Aug 2018
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