Earlier this year we invited members to take part in an online survey to tell us more about your experience of being a member of VOICE. We wanted to better understand the motivators for being involved in shaping research and innovation, what you liked most about VOICE and what you thought could be done to improve your experience.
Following the survey, we invited members to take part in one to one chats with the VOICE team to discuss their experiences in more detail.
We had a fantastic response from the membership (thank you!), from people who have been members for years, to others who had only been involved with VOICE for a couple of months. We heard from members across the UK, giving us a wide range of different perspectives on what it is to be a member of VOICE.
Through the survey responses and one to one discussions, we learnt that there are a wide range of motivators for VOICE members to be involved. The most common motivation was being able to have a say in research and making a difference to people’s lives who will benefit from the research, other reasons included having the opportunity to share their experiences as well as hearing about other members’ experiences and the feeling of being listened to, being valued and having a voice.
“You come away feeling you have been heard and you have been listened to and perhaps may have some effect on something in the future”
Others mentioned the remuneration and reimbursement for taking part, the opportunity to meet new people with similar experiences and interests, and enjoying being involved and learning new things.
“I don’t think I’ve ever done any [opportunities] that I haven’t enjoyed or felt I’ve got something out of.”
We also wanted to know what our members like about VOICE. The responses we received told us that members like how interesting and varied the opportunities and topics on offer are as well as receiving regular updates about new opportunities that they can get involved with. Members also fed back on how easy it is to register and apply to take part, and the flexibility of getting involved - being able to choose if you want to take part, or choosing not to if you’re busy at that time.
"I like: the ability to be involved in as much or as little as I want, the variety of opportunities, the feeling of belonging to a group."
We’re very passionate about growing our collaboration network and providing our members with the opportunity to influence research and innovation at a range of world-class institutions – so it was great to hear that this an aspect that members really appreciated; the ability to take part in opportunities online, and outside of their immediate geographic location. Thank you to our amazing collaborators Imperial College, Bournemouth University, Edinburgh University and Leeds University who make this possible!
Another aspect members said they liked about VOICE is the sense of community, the inclusivity and how friendly everyone is.
“Researchers and staff alike make you feel a welcome part of their community.”
As well as understanding what motivates members to get involved and what they like, we were also interested in knowing if there were any areas of VOICE that we could improve on, to make sure VOICE members have the best experience possible when using the website and getting involved in opportunities. The responses and suggestions we received for improvements were, to introduce a VOICE app, make it clearer about when an opportunity is posted and closes, make it easier to view the opportunities you are involved with and that are relevant to you, have more guidance available on public involvement and VOICE, and receive more regular feedback on the opportunities you have taken part in.
All the information and feedback we have received has been used to help us to inform a complete re-build of the VOICE website, which is coming VERY soon, please look out for further information and updates on this soon. We’re also organising a big VOICE celebration event to share updates and to recognise and celebrate all that our members have achieved!
“It gives me pleasure and pride to be involved with the vitality of research and innovation as an older person valued by VOICE.”
We’d like to thank everyone who was involved in the survey and one to one discussions, your input has been incredibly valuable and it has been a great opportunity to get to know our members better.