Research & Evaluation
Hampshire Fire & Rescue
Hampshire Fire & Rescue
Hampshire Fire and Rescue had a problem. They were publicly consulting about a significant restructure to the Fire Service, but were only hearing from ‘the usual suspects’. They were keen to hear from people whose voices are less often heard. Would the restructure have any additional or different impacts on these communities? And how could these insights help to inform the implementation process?
So they came to Action Hampshire and asked if we could help in some way. Our Research & Engagement Team loves finding solutions to tricky problems, so we jumped at the chance.
After some discussions and refining, we came up with a plan. We chose communities that we felt were less often heard, and approached our member organisations (working within these communities) to ask for their help.
We gave each organisation a small sum of money, and they brought some beneficiaries together in a room. Our Research & Engagement Team came and facilitated focus groups to discuss the proposed restructure, together with a uniformed Fire Office.
We ended up carrying out 11 focus groups in different parts of Hampshire with:
- people with chronic lung conditions
- carers (providing unpaid care to adult family/friends)
- Nepali residents, many of whom were recent arrivals
- people with visual impairments and their families
- parents of children and young people with special needs
- transgender or transitioning people
- people living with mental health conditions
- people with learning difficulties
- older people
- British Sign Language users
- people with physical disabilities
Action Hampshire were fantastic to work with. They were able to quickly grasp what we needed and then facilitate this very effectively. They were all great fun to work with and as helpful as could be wished for. I would happily work with them again.
Did it work? It certainly did!
We met our intended impact, which was to make sure that the voices of seldom-heard communities were reflected in Hampshire Fire & Rescue’s planning.
But the project also had unintended impacts, with focus group participants learning a great deal about how to reduce their fire risk, and feeling reassured about what they should do in case of fire “thank you. I feel much happier now I know what to do”. Participants also really appreciated the chance to express their views to Hampshire Fire & Rescue personnel “we feel listened to now”.
And we all had fun. There was lots of laughter and enjoyment in the room, and of course, biscuits.