Getting to Know JEDelve Over Pizza

Focus group session with the young people

Having concluded our interviews with young people at JEDelve before Christmas, the UCL research team were now in a position to feedback to the group and come together to generate some ideas together.

The scent of Domino’s pizza attracted the young people back into youth group – this time for a focus group session.

The aim: collectively brainstorm workshop ideas!

First, the researchers hoped to understand the main struggles that the young people faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and their feelings towards these struggles.

Various themes came up:

Healthy Lifestyle

  • Acknowledging that mental health and physical health coexist in order to achieve a healthy lifestyle
  • Finding it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle in the face of COVID-19 uncertainties
  • Having distrupted sleep

Mental health

  • Feeling stressed about current and future prospects in school and work
  • Struggling to find motivation, which leads to procrastination and increased stress levels close to deadlines
  • Recognising the thought processes behind procrastination but not knowing how to overcome them

Connecting and Disconnecting

  • Having increased screen time due to online school or completing assignments
  • Using increased social media to communicate with friends throughout all times of the day
  • Knowing when to take a “mental health break” and giving oneself time to process one’s emotions


  • Feeling unsupported by academic staff at school regarding future goals
  • Uncertain about academic options in university and scared about fitting in
  • Finding university a foreign concept (difficult to imagine themselves thriving)

Arts and Movement

  • Taking solace in art forms: music, sculpture, poetry, or paintings
  • Art as a form of self-expression: writing lyrics or taking photos
  • The importance of physical movement such as sports or taking a walk outside in nature as a breather

Overall, we greatly enjoyed the session, which can be aptly summarised by a quote from one of our researchers:

I was incredibly impressed by the conversations we had as part of our focus group. As it was my first visit, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I heard many great things from the other research assistants and the teenagers duly delivered. I was taken back by their maturity and intelligence on complex topics. Their passionate debates between whether Maths or English was a particular highlight. Their warmth and willingness to engage is a testament to the work done by JEDelve and I can’t wait to come back for future workshops and to further develop what is an already strong relationship.


Next Steps: The research team will take into account the interests of the young people and plan out some fun, creative, and engaging workshops. To be revealed soon!

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