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Raising Voices in Research shows ‘we can all make a difference’



Charities and partners across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are helping more local people take part in research.

 

They marked successes from the partnership’s second year at a special event in Southampton city centre. It took place at Central Hall on Tuesday 26th March.

 

Dr Karen Underwood from University Hospital Southampton (UHS) was a keynote speaker at the event.

 

Raising Voices in Research is increasing uptake and diversity in research. A key goal is to determine how research can better involve a range of communities.

 

Shaping research


The project connects UHS with various local organisations. It is led by Action Hampshire. Other partners include NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight, regional National Institute for Health & Care Research (NIHR) research partners and the University of Winchester.


Dr Karen Underwood, Director of Research and Development at UHS, said:


“We can all make a difference in the world. Each one of us has a unique voice and perspective to contribute. It is through our collective efforts that we can lead equitable and truly meaningful research.


“We must make sure the research we do is the research that people need. This means engaging those who are seldom heard, underserved or experiencing the greatest health inequalities.


“It is encouraging to see new relationships growing through this project and we are committed to building on this momentum together.”


Voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations were also involved in the delivery of the project. They shared their communities’ views to help shape research.


Nicky Judd from Action Hampshire said: “This project has once again shown what an effective bridge VCSE organisations are to help us hear from and work with diverse communities. The insights that experts by experience have shared is gold dust!


“It’s exciting to see how much researchers learned through their interactions with these communities, and how they adapted their research methods as a result. Several communities told us this was the first time they have felt really heard.”


Putting learning into practice


The project launched in December 2022. In its first phase, a series of workshops took place to hear from local communities about what matters to them.


It was then awarded an additional £150,000 in September 2023. This investment brought the project’s total funding to almost £250,000.


Phase two has seen VCSE organisations work with researchers to embed recommendations from phase one into practice.

 

Alongside this work, training is being co-designed between communities and the University of Winchester. This will help share the work of Raising Voices in Research further.

 

The newly formed Hampshire & Isle of Wight Research Collaborative has met throughout both phases of the project. It brings together those active in research or engagement who have a common aim and desire to make sure diverse communities voices are heard.

 

Working in partnership

 

The partner organisations and their communities have co-developed a Local Plan for Research. It contains recommendations to help recruit patients in an inclusive and diverse way.

 

Seven VCSE groups returned from phase one to take part. They are:

 

  • Basingstoke Hindu Society

  • Drop the Mask CIC

  • Recapture Life

  • Sight for Wight

  • St Deny's Activity Group, Winchester

  • GoLD, and

  • Yellow Door

 

They were joined by eight new organisations:

 

  • Work Better Innovations

  • Bridge to Unity

  • Portsmouth City of Sanctuary

  • Motiv8 South

  • Breakout Youth

  • Portsmouth Pride

  • Yellow Brick Road Projects, and

  • Step by Step


Dr Matt Nisbet from the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board said: 


“The NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight are incredibly pleased to support this piece of work. We see the impact of research in all our work. In my role as a GP, I see the direct impact of research daily.


“I extend my sincere thanks for everyone who has taken part in this work and hope its reach continues beyond today.”


The project’s findings will now be evaluated. They will then be shared with partners, communities and NHS England.

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