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P-21 What does our community know? researching public perceptions to direct the future of communications
  1. Alice Spearing
  1. St Richard’s Hospice, Worcester, UK


Background The hospice has a strategic aim to develop and maintain its profile across the county as an essential charity to support. The messages we communicate to the community forms their understanding of our care. Past communications have been guided by assumptions of what the community does and does not know. Market research was an opportunity to produce evidence on our community’s awareness.

Aims To produce evidence to test assumptions, learn new insights into perceptions and form a baseline.

Method On-street interviews were the preferred methodology capturing views of the public in areas of high footfall. An online survey for supporters was developed, allowing comparisons between ‘warm’ supporters, with assumed greater knowledge and the public’s awareness of our care. This was a funded piece of work and a market research company was commissioned to carry out and analyse the fieldwork.


  • 511 on-street interviews

  • 486 online surveys.

Key Findings

  • Areas geographically further away from the hospice building have lower awareness of conditions cared for, services provided and recognition of hospice logo

  • 82% of respondents had heard of the hospice and made aware through events, charity shops, word of mouth.

  • Cancer, dementia, Multiple Sclerosis, Motor Neurone Disease were conditions the community believed we cared for

  • Respondents were motivated to volunteer or donate to give something back, personal interest, if they knew the charity, cared for family/friend.

Conclusion Conducting research has produced valuable evidence to direct the future of communications and engagement. Evidence has substantiated and discredited assumptions communications has previously been guided by. Therefore, key messages have been identified which need to be reinforced to improve community awareness. Different messaging techniques and platforms have been explored to ensure a wider audience is captured when communicating key messages. This project demonstrates how researching public perceptions can strengthen communication to the community to widen understanding.

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