Connecting and Strengthening the VCSE Sector

Working together for better health through effective research

Building on existing community engagement programmes and initiatives across the VCSE and Integrated Care System (ICS) in Worcestershire, we will develop a network of Local Research Leads (LRLs) who, in turn, will grow Local Research Engagement Panels (LREPs) as standing items on collaborative network agendas. The development of the LRL peer network will be supported by a county-wide REACH steering group and an agreed behavioural framework.

Working in partnership with Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, and the University of Worcester, the REACH steering group will enable LREPs to act as research advisors to the health economy, universities and research sponsors on local issues, e.g. local priorities, barriers to engagement, and communication preferences. The steering group will also support members of VCSE organisations to become LRLs through the improvement of training and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) opportunities.

By following the REACH Worcestershire Process and adopting the behavioural framework, LRLs will use their new research skills to create research-positive communities. This will involve supporting conversations about health research, developing community-led, community-based and co-produced approaches, and serving as a channel for community members to provide feedback on health and social care priorities.

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20240325 REACH Framework and Update

The REACH Framework is supported by three elements to facilitate participation – Promises, Practices and Principles.

Promises: these are the commitments we make for each stage (Aware, Engaged, Involved). They are designed to help an organisation or an individual choose their level of engagement with health and social care research.

Practices: these are the behaviours expected of organisations and individuals who have committed to being part of REACH Aware and REACH Engaged.

Principles: these are statements agreed by the NHS Research Authority that act as a benchmark for good practice that the management and conduct of all health and social care research in the UK are expected to meet.


Are you part of a voluntary, community or social enterprise organisation linked to health and wellbeing in Worcestershire?

Are you interested in finding ways to use community voice to influence policy?

Are you wondering how health and social care research can impact and improve practice?

  • an LRL (Local Research Lead)
  • a REACH steering group member
  • a REACH Aware organisation

VSCE Alliance Asembly200

  • Now available to download! The REACH Worcestershire Framework :
  • NEW Research in Community Settings Toolkit from NIHR has recently been launched, which contains practical advice for those considering doing research in community settings. It also seeks to stimulate discussion as to how we can work together to maximise study success, and encourage the broadest participation possible from our communities. The toolkit is hosted here on NIHR Learn and access to NIHR Learn is now open to anyone to create their own account. When accessing the platform for the first time you are asked to confirm that you are working with the NIHR (or involved in studies supported/funded by NIHR such as REACH Worcestershire).  Learn more here : Community Research by Workforce Learning & OD – Infogram

An additional aspect of REACH Worcestershire focuses its aim on increasing participation in community health research by diverse and seldom heard groups

The focus of the project will be on listening to under-researched communities in Worcestershire including those that are seldom heard. Working with VCSE partners, the project aims to engage with these communities about research by considering barriers to participation and how best to mitigate them.

We aim to co-develop a sustainable model for continued collaboration, which will inform future research strategies across the Integrated Care System (ICS).