Would you like to write for the Learning Disabilities Elf?


We’re looking for people who share our commitment to delivering quality-filtered updates of emerging evidence that focus on the needs of health and social care professionals. It would also help if you like elves!

You might be a subject specialist, a clinician, a researcher, a student or even an information scientist. If you want to use your research and writing skills to make a real difference to care and support – read on.

The 10 live elf websites we have launched over the last 3 years are all run by experts in their field who believe that health and social care professionals need access to the right evidence at the right time, in order to keep up to date with best current knowledge.

Writing for The Learning Disabilities Elf

The Learning Disabilities Elf website is really popular with students, nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, GPs, researchers and other health and social care professionals, and it’s also widely used by patients, carers, librarians, teachers and journalists.  Our number of followers across all platforms is now well over 20,000.

We have been slowly building a team of expert bloggers over the last year; bringing in researchers, clinicians, practitioners and managers to contribute in their areas of interest and expertise. The blogs written by these individuals have been popular with readers, so we now want to expand the number of contributors who write for the elf.

People who write for the website tell us they do so because:

  • It is an opportunity to write about research in a way that is meaningful and accessible for a wider audience
  • It gives them ‘permission’ to spend time thinking about the issue and the questions it raises
  • It helps them develop their own critical appraisal, writing and digital skills
  • They are committed to the idea of making research accessible and relevant to people who work in the sector
Join the woodland community and make your voice heard.

Join the woodland community and make your voice heard.

What you will bring

There are a few essentials that you will need to write for the Learning Disabilities Elf:

  • Learning disabilities knowledge: you don’t need to be a Professor, but you do need to know about Learning Disabilities or a specific topic within the field
  • Critical appraisal skills: you need to be comfortable reading, appraising and summarising research papers
  • Writing skills: you need to be able to write in clear, simple and engaging language

What we can offer you

There are a number of reasons why you might like to write for us:

  • Audience: this website, our social media channels and our mobile apps reach a wide audience, so your blogs will get read by thousands of people
  • Skills: we can help you learn more about evidence-based healthcare, blogging and social media
  • Woodland camaraderie: it’s a lot of fun working for the National Elf Service!

How will it work?

  • We will sign you up and provide you with some background information about the National Elf Service
  • You will choose your areas of interest (e.g. support for people described as having challenging behaviour, children, carers, personalisation etc.)
  • We will send you a recently published research paper that matches your areas of interest
  • You will critically appraise the paper and write a blog of <1,000 words, summarising the research and presenting the strengths and limitations
  • We will edit your blog and agree the final version with you before publishing it

If you are interested, please email our Chief Blogger John Northfield and introduce yourself.

We look forward to hearing from you and maybe welcoming you to our expanding team.

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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