We have been connecting with many local people, and have been using the power of art to really listen to people’s experiences.
What a venue for our first CAG meeting!
Central library in Liverpool was the setting of our first Community Advisory Group (CAG) meeting. We came together for the first time to discuss the aims of the project and looked at how we could engage the people of Liverpool in our research.
Our new CAG members are a great team. Initially we started with four members, two men and two women. Whilst they are the first to admit they are not teenagers; they have families and friends of all ages and are always full of great ideas on how to attract a wider audience.
Their ideas helped the team to work out the best direction to take next.
A key part of our Public Engagement/ Patient Public Involvement work is our Community Action Group, (CAG). Recruited using local media and community links we now have four CAG members who represent life across Merseyside.
After our first CAG meeting in September 2018, we have a much clearer idea of how to move forward. Whilst we have started to fill the CAG, we need more members. For our research to have maximum impact we need a greater understanding of the local community we are working in.
The CAG meeting gave me some ideas about key groups to approach, avenues to explore further and how best to attract more young people.
Having a designated person for Public Engagement and Patient & Public Involvement makes it easier to establish relationships with people in the community and local groups. This is me, Margaret Stanley. I am the lead for Public Enga
gement (PE) and Patient & Public Involvement (PPI) on The Return Project.
I will share my journey through Public Engagement works as I travel across Merseyside.
After previously working in education and social history, I am excited to learn new skills, as well as harnessing the ones I already have. I am fascinated by the aims of the project and excited to work with such an enthusiastic and growing team.
The letters making up the RETURN name are taken from the longer title for the project which is ‘InteRvention to rEduce inequaliTies in the Uptake of Routine deNtal care’
We also chose it for the name of the project because the research is all about encouraging people to go back to the dentist for regular care after visiting with a problem following a long time where they did not visit the dentist.
Who funds the project?
We sent an application to the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). They fund research which they judge to be important priorities for health in this country. The proposal was sent to many different experts who give their views on things like whether it’s good value for money. We were delighted when we got the funding approved! The project is funded for over 5 years.
When we started out, we had a go designing our own logo – there was a lot of discussion about colours!
After a while we started working with Non-Conform, a local company and they produced the logo we use now – it’s much better!
Connecting with the Community
We set up a Merseyside Community Advisory group (CAG) so we could work with local people to develop materials which people would find relevant and useful.
We found people to be involved in the CAG in different ways:
- We distributed a leaflet asking for participants and put these up in local shops, the library and other places
- We did a slot on Merseyside radio
- We set up a RETURN Facebook page and linked with local people
- The Liverpool ECHO printed a letter on their letter page
We knew our CAG would be a crucial part of our project and its beginning was very exciting.