Research project: PPE and voluntary action in a time of crisis

Colin and Meta are coming to the end of data gathering for a unique research project, ‘Proud to be a part of this’: PPE and voluntary action in a time of crisis’. The survey closes on 31 July 2021, so if you are interested in participating, do, please, log on as soon as possible!

We aim to map and record how thousands of people responded to the critical shortfall in PPE for NHS staff and other key workers during the coronavirus crisis in England. We think that the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) of all kinds to frontline workers during this crisis is of social (and historical) importance and should be understood, appreciated and remembered.

Because quite a lot of time has passed since the beginning of the PPE movement last spring, we aim as a matter of urgency to document collectively who participated, where they were located, what they did, how they did it, who they did it for, what they thought about their contributions, and what we can learn from their experiences.

Our methodology is simple: we are attempting to contact everyone who has been involved in donating, funding, making and distributing PPE and to gather and analyse their experiences and views. We want to recognise all contributions and to make sure that no one is left out.

If you have been involved in donating, funding, making and distributing PPE, we would like to invite you to complete our survey.

We are interested in

  • Grassroots voluntary action: people doing things because they spontaneously recognised that help was needed
  • Organisational innovation and effectiveness: again people doing things, in whatever ways that worked
  • Co-operation: concerned individuals; community groups; voluntary organisations; businesses; schools, colleges and universities; faith groups; and civic leaders working together to get the job done
  • Emotional commitment: people looking beyond their own interests, concerns and comfort to care for others without thought of financial reward.

We want to know

  • Who were the thousands of people who took part?
  • Why did they join in?
  • What did they do?
  • Who did they do it for?
  • How did they do it?
  • What did they learn from the experience?
  • Are there any lessons to help us deal with future challenges?

Click on this link to take part in ‘Proud to be a part of this’: PPE and voluntary action in a time of crisis:

We would appreciate receipt of completed surveys by 31 July 2021.

Additional information

What will we do with the findings?

The information that you and other participants provide is of social and historical importance, and we aim to promote understanding, appreciation and remembrance of what ordinary people have done during a time of national crisis.

We will publish our findings in downloadable and free on-line reports and present them to relevant seminars and conferences for academics, practitioners and policy-makers. We will be presenting our headline findings at the Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Research  Conference at Aston University in September.

How will we safeguard the information you provide?

We will look after the information you provide safely and securely in accordance with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Your contributions will be aggregated with those of other participants and anonymised (so that what you say will not be attributable to you by name).

Any questions?

If you have any questions about the research or would like further information e-mail Meta at (special e-mail for management of the research project).

Thank you for your help.