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Project Mead community research launch

An introduction to community research work from Emily Perriam, Head of Volunteering and Community Networks

Last month, we shared information about a new project kicking off at the MS Society. Project Mead is looking at how we deliver our services, how we innovate them to offer more choices, and how we can further support the MS community. Ultimately, we want to improve and increase our reach to positively impact more people. And volunteers play a huge part in how we do that.

We’re planning to gather the views of the MS community, our volunteers and staff through a number of co-production groups, customer listening exercises and research activity. 

This is where our community research work comes in, which I’m delighted to tell you more about.

What’s the community research going to look at?

The research is taking place as part of Project Mead. It’s been designed to increase our understanding of the needs of the MS community in relation to our local support offer. This will include getting a better understanding of the vital role our local groups play in providing support to the MS community. 

We’ll start by looking at existing research and the data we have. That’ll allow us to identify any gaps, and conduct further research where necessary to answer the following questions: 

  • What are the needs, wants and priorities of the MS community in terms of community connection and local services?   

  • How does our current group model meet that need? Where there are gaps, how can we support groups to meet this need, and what other local support could we offer?   

Who's involved?

We've appointed an external research agency, Research Your Way, who started with us in April. 

Research Your Way will work with the following groups to understand their views: 

  • MS Society staff 
  • Volunteers, including group volunteers 
  • Group contacts
  • Third party and third sector organisations   

We’ll also be engaging members of the MS community who haven't used local group services before. This will help us to build a rich understanding of their wants, needs and priorities in terms of community connection and local service delivery. 

What happens next? 

Using this research, we'll be working with volunteers, staff and the community to improve our approach to local support. To help inform this we'll be recruiting a coproduction group, made up of community stakeholders, including volunteers. 

More information on this will be coming soon so keep an eye on our newsletters. 

What can I do? 

We’re working with Research Your Way to identify the best approach to get feedback from volunteers over the coming weeks. If you’re contacted by Research Your Way by email, please do engage with them as we welcome your views and feedback. 

Find out more 

Take a look at last month’s introduction to Project Mead from our Interim Director of Services and Support, Gavin Atkins. 

And if you have any questions, please email [email protected].