These resources for public members will support the public involvement in the research projects allowing them to become more familiar with the research process and have another member of the community who they can speak to for questions about research.

A previous co-production workshop in 2022 identified that there was a need for the buddy scheme and research training to develop resources within the support and learning goal for the CSI public involvement strategy 2021-2023.

Ten public members from the CSI were able to take part in the development and/or pilot trial to test the buddy scheme and research training video.

For the pilot trial, buddies consisted of more experienced members of the CSI PPI community paired with newer members of the CSI PPI community. For the full roll-out of the buddy scheme, buddies will meet for a total of two hours over three meet-ups in two months. This is different from the pilot where buddies met for a total of 1.5 hours over two meet-ups in one month. Both the testing and full buddy scheme are held online.

In the development meeting, participants raised that the priorities need to be to build confidence, increase knowledge, and provide motivation and encouragement. To do this, the public members made it clear that there must be a sense of mutual respect. Overall, feedback for the buddy scheme testing was positive. The feedback mentioned that participants “felt valued by [their] buddy” and that their buddy was a “very thoughtful and reasonable person, who attentively listens”. Another participant shared that the buddy scheme was “perhaps only improved by a cup of coffee”.

The research training video explored five stages of the research process from identifying the topic to dissemination. The training video was co-produced by members of the PPI community as well as researchers who shared their knowledge of what PPI is, providing examples of how public involvement has supported and benefitted the research conducted within the CSI. A successful research training video would ensure members that all voices are heard within research and provide the skills and knowledge for public members to feel that they can contribute to the research. Feedback was very specific to what could be improved which included suggestions such as involving more public members and including more interactive content. Despite the areas of improvement, a participant in the trial said that the video training was “impactful with relevant content and that it looks and sounds wholly engaging”.

Following the pilot trials, the buddy scheme has recently been rolled out in the wider community and the research training video is in the second phase of development to implement the recommendations.

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