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Sustaining community-led action in recovery: learning lessons from the community response to COVID-19 in Wales

We want to hear about your personal experience of giving time to help others over the last year.

The Research and Evaluation Division at Public Health Wales, in partnership with University of Bristol and Wales Council for Voluntary Action, are undertaking a national survey of volunteers and those who have given up their time unpaid to help their communities. We have commissioned Strategic Research and Insight Ltd (SRI), a third-party independent research company based in Wales, to collect the survey data on our behalf, so that we can better understand the role of community-led action in response to and recovery from COVID-19 in Wales. This project is supported by the Health Foundation, committed to bringing about better health and health care for people in the UK.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been record numbers of people in Wales giving their time freely to help other people in their community, through acts like shopping, picking up medicines, cooking a meal or providing some care and emotional support. We know that this kind of grassroots voluntary action is really important when it comes to building strong and supportive communities and for the wellbeing of individuals, and want to better understand what has been happening in communities across Wales during the pandemic. Your participation in this research will help Public Health Wales and its partners to better understand and inform their short, medium and long-term planning to improve population health in Wales. It will also help to ensure community-led volunteering can be better supported in future.

That’s why we’ve asked Strategic Research and Insight to help us through a national online survey so we can better understand the views and experiences of individuals who have engaged in action to support those in need in their local communities during the pandemic, by taking part in unpaid volunteering activities (e.g. via a voluntary organisation), or getting involved in supporting others in less formal ways (e.g. through a local community support group, or as individuals offering a helping hand to a neighbour).

Public Health Wales is looking for anyone who has volunteered – from group-based support to assisting a neighbour – to answer our short survey so we can better understand how and why people have helped others in their community in different ways since the pandemic started.

You can take the survey here.

What could I be asked to do?

The survey is around 15 minutes long and is hosted by Strategic Research and Insight. It is open to anyone who has volunteered since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 either in a formal way (via a voluntary initiative), or in less formal ways (as part of your local area community support group, or a club). We are inviting people aged 18 years and above, living and/or working/or volunteering in Wales to take part.

Public Health Wales has a statutory responsibility to conduct and commission research that provides information that can protect the health of the people of Wales. For information on this, please visit the UK Government website here: The Public Health Wales NHS Trust (Establishment) Order 2009

Do I have to take part?

No, it is up to you to decide whether or not to take part. Completing the questionnaire is entirely voluntary. You are free to stop at any time, and you do not have to give a reason. A decision to stop will not affect your rights, any current or future health treatment, or any services you receive.

What will you do with my results?

We would like to use the results from this survey to ensure that the locally driven informal and formal community-led action across Wales can be better empowered, supported and sustained to help protect against some of the longer-term health, social and economic challenges of COVID-19. We hope that findings from the study can help inform future policies aimed at sustaining long-term support for both the third sector and community-led action.

Will my data be kept confidential?

It is important to us that all your information is safe. All information you provide will be stored securely and kept confidential for research use only, and in a way that it will not be possible to know which person they came from, in accordance with Data Protection Laws and in line with GDPR.

You can read a privacy notice for Strategic Research and Insight here:

English: Privacy Notice
Welsh: Hysbysiad preifatrwydd

Public Health Wales privacy notice can be read here:
English: Privacy Notice
Welsh: Hysbysiad preifatrwydd

Information will only be shared with others if you disclose a safeguarding issue. This is in line with the Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act. 

Has this project been ethically reviewed?

The study has been reviewed and approved by the Public Health Wales Research and Development Office, and University of Bristol Faculty of Health Sciences Research Ethics Committee (FREC) have provided ethical approval for this study.

Where do I go if I have any further questions?

Read the full FAQ sheet

If you have any further questions or queries, please do not hesitate to contact the research team on the contact details below: 

Dr Charlotte Grey
Public Health Researcher
Research and Evaluation Division  
Public Health Wales NHS Trust
Number 2 Capital Quarter 
Tyndall Street
CF10 4BZ
02920 104542

Lucia Homolova
Senior Public Health Research Officer
Research and Evaluation Division  
Public Health Wales NHS Trust
Number 2 Capital Quarter 
Tyndall Street
CF10 4BZ 
02920 104538

Angus Campbell
Research Executive
Strategic Research and Insight
Park Place
CF10 3DQ
0800 255 0165