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Volunteers needed for healthy town research

PUBLISHED: 09:51 15 April 2010 | UPDATED: 22:02 07 July 2010

Rebecca Gough

People living in Thetford are being sought for a new course which will see them learn how to evaluate the town's recent healthy living programme.

People living in Thetford are being sought for a new course which will see them learn how to evaluate the town's recent healthy living programme.

About 10 people are needed for the course which will run on Monday and Tuesday next week .

Thetford received a cash boost last year after being named as one of nine towns and cities across the country as part of a £30m government healthy town scheme.

The aim is to help people living in the town to improve their health and ensure healthy living is in the forefront of people's minds and in transport housing and education.

Now, more than six months after the Healthy Town launch people will be canvassed for their opinions by a group of peers living in the town.

Sue Smithurst , research development manager of Priory Research Services, which has been tasked with carrying out the training said: “People will be given two days of training into the mechanics of research and the processes involved.

“It helps people gain the confidence to ask questions. We want the community to be able to collect the data for themselves because they're the people who know more about Thetford. They will learn about communication skills, confidentiality and how to be an effective interviewer.

“This way we can maximise the number of responses we get and make a bigger and better assessment of what's going on. What we want to know is have the outcomes been achieved.”

The 10 people selected will be trained in how to put together a questionnaire and how to deliver it. They will then begin with family and friends before they go out into the wider community, accompanied by Priory staff.

Three people have already been trained to collect the views of their community and previous training courses have shown many people go on to complete formal qualifications in a similar field.

Angela Clark was one of the first three to be trained at the beginning of March. The homeless hostel worker from Thetford said: “I like training anyway and it was something I wanted to test out before possibly recommending it to people I work with.

“It was actually really good and helped me to recognise some of the skills I already have.”

To find out more or to sign up for the course contact research development manager Sue Smithurst or data and monitoring officer Duncan Harrison on 01493 855421 or email sue-smithurst@gyctrust.co.uk or duncan-harrison@gyctrust.co.uk.

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