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LtPF team strengthens as University of Birmingham appoints Dr. Hannah Baumer

Levelling the Playing Field (LtPF) – the new Alliance of Sport (AoS)-led project using sport to address overrepresentation in the Youth Justice System – has moved onto its next stage with the appointment of Dr. Hannah Baumer as Research Fellow in the University of Birmingham’s School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences.

The School conducts world-leading and impactful research to understand and support the physical activity and sport needs of individuals and communities in diverse populations and optimise health across the lifespan.

Hannah began work on Monday, May 11th as a member of the Monitoring and Evaluation (M+E) team at the University of Birmingham, led by Joan Duda, Professor of Sport and Exercise Psychology.  One of the most cited researchers in her discipline in the world, Joan is particularly known for her expertise on motivation, motivational climates and determinants of performance, persistence and well-being in sport.  She is the creator of the theory-and evidence-based Empowering CoachingTM family of training programmes. Dr Paul Appleton, Teaching and Research Fellow in the School, rounds out key members of the team as a Co-Investigator on the LtPF project.

In terms of her important role within the M+E team, “Hannah will be the day-to-day contact point between the AoS, national and local partners,” Joan explained.

“She has had valuable experiencing working within community sport, but importantly, has done research specifically with regard to sport within the Criminal Justice System.

“Within the interview process, I was struck by Hannah’s desire to further enhance her professional (academic) skills via joining our research group and highly-rated research-focused School.

“I was also most impressed with her passion for making a difference in the lives of young people, improving their health and wellbeing, preventing engagement in criminal activity and fostering desistance via sport.”

Hannah is delighted to be joining the team, as an advocate of sport for development in community and criminal justice settings, she feels the role is perfect for her.

Dr Hannah Baumer
The appointment of Dr. Hannah Baumer strengthens the LtPF team.

“I can’t think of another project I’d rather be working on, Levelling the Playing Field has the potential to change the lives of many young people for the better. Joan and Paul have a wealth of experience in the field of sport and exercise psychology and I hope to learn a lot about tackling social inequalities through sport, whilst applying this best practice to address over-representation from BAME young people in the CJS.”

The M&E team aim to build on existing research, including Prof Rosie Meek’s independent review of sport in youth and adult prisons, A Sporting Chance, and Loughborough University’s evaluation of StreetGames, a charity which harnesses the power of sport to create positive change in the lives of disadvantaged people right across the UK.

“It is important for us to develop our understanding of the role sport can play in the lives of young people coming into contact with the Criminal Justice System and with the police in general, whilst focusing on how this differs for those from BAME backgrounds,” emphasises Hannah.

Hannah’s appointment will not be the last in the M+E team, which will regularly update the larger LtPF Steering Group.

“Besides James, Justin and Rudro from the AoS, we are looking to have other colleagues join what will surely be an active and engaged M+E sub-group,” said Joan.

“As the project unfolds and additional funds are secured, we will have two more colleagues from the University of Birmingham involved – aiming to add work streams centred on objective, accelerometer-based measurement of physical activity in black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) youth, and economic costing analysis to the overall project – as well as postgraduate students within the School who may want to join the collaboration.”

Rudro, who is LtPF Project Manager, was very pleased to welcome Hannah to the group. He said: “Hannah is going to be a great addition to the Levelling the Playing Field Monitoring and Evaluations team at the University of Birmingham. Her experience of research in sport within the Criminal Justice System is going to be invaluable.”

The overarching aim of LtPF is to facilitate the delivery of programmes of sport, physical activity and mentoring in four regions across England and Wales, so that there can be improvements in health and life outcomes for BAME children aged 10-18 years of age who are involved with, or on the fringes of, the Criminal Justice System.