We want greater community engagement in determining research priorities and a stronger relationship between local NIHR organisations and those communities.

As a step towards this INVOLVE and the Research Design Service (RDS) have launched the pilot Reaching Out programme. The purpose of the programme is to encourage the development of new public involvement and engagement relationships, and new or more effective approaches to building relationships, within communities in the RDS localities. The emphasis is on parts of the community who are not usually, or consistently, involved in health, social care and public health research. In doing this work, the partnership hopes to enable public and patient involvement and engagement workers across NIHR and other settings to work together more to achieve common objectives.

Ultimately, the work must support new or improved research partnerships and broadened involvement in research.

We are delighted to announce that four projects have received funding.

Research Design Service North East (North East North Cumbria from October 2018) is working with the Creating Connections Network which includes the following partners: RDS NENC Consumer panel; PPI Special Interest Group from the Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University; Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria (CRN NENC); NIHR Innovation Observatory, Newcastle University; VOICE, Newcastle University; FMS Engage, Newcastle University; The Newcastle upon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the North East Social Care and Health Advisors (NESCHA), and the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Community Trust.  A launch event will identify special interest groups with whom they will then work to enable people to become involved in research in a way that is long term, acceptable and sustainable.
RDS East of England are working in partnership with Healthwatch Essex, Refugee Action – Colchester, and the Junior Wardens Project, Jaywick Sands Neighbourhood Team, Tendring District Council. The aim of their project is to build a new and sustainable health and social care research partnership in North East Essex with children and young people whose voices are seldom heard and create pathways for active and ongoing engagement, involvement and participation in health and wellbeing research. RDS East of England have produced their second quarterly update.  Read more here. Read Tracey Johns’ blog –  Feeling grateful: the day after the ‘Young Minds Inspiring Health & Wellbeing Research Event’ here.  Read Tracey Johns’ December blog here.
RDS Yorkshire and Humber are working with NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN), and the Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC). They will be working with Gypsy and Traveller Communities within Yorkshire and Humber to empower communities and develop their capacity for ongoing community led work.
RDS South Central will be working with partners in the Wessex Public Involvement Network (which brings together partners from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) as well as community partners Board in the City (a gaming café) and Touch Network (a not for profit charity who run storytelling workshops) and Community Health and Wellbeing Hub (partnered with Healthwatch Southampton, this is a network of university staff and community representatives with an interest in Health and Wellbeing in Southampton). The intention of this project is to broaden diversity of patient and public involvement in research by building long term and sustainable relationships with underrepresented communities. You can read the blog about the project here.


Read Katherine Cowan’s report that, drawing on the Reaching Out programme, provides a practical guide to being inclusive in research. Read her report here.