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Volunteers’ Week 2023: Community Champion Becky Allen

Decorative image to accompany Becky Allen Volunteers Week interview

To mark Volunteers' Week 2023, we spoke to Community Champion Becky Allen. Becky volunteers as part of the NIHR's Research Ready Communities programme in Whitleigh, Plymouth, which is seeking to increase awareness of health and care research, and broaden the range of backgrounds and communities that research participants come from.

Why do you volunteer to help with health and care research?

I volunteer to help with health and social care research because I want my community and its members to have better care and support. Every person is different, and the more people who get involved, the wider the spectrum of support and care that can be developed and provided from the data collected, enabling improvements in all aspects of support and care.

Would you encourage others to get involved?

I would encourage everyone to get involved, no matter who you are. Your input makes a direct impact on millions of lives, as well as your own community, the long term benefits are worth the time. Even if it just links you to local support groups for your own needs, it can make an impact.

What do you get from it?

I personally gained a lot of knowledge about the systems in place to help research benefit the public, the protections in place and how the research is done. I even learnt so much more about my community, the people within it and the lie of the land around us. There have been too many benefits to mention.

How long have you been volunteering?

I have been a volunteer within my community for a long time but I learnt so much more during my journey with the NIHR, from meeting new people and discovering new and hidden places within the area to being able to signpost people to support and care to help them on their journey. Volunteering can be a tiresome and frustrating job, but the NIHR team have gone out their way to support, empower and engage us the entire way through.