Our Annual Membership Survey is now complete! In this blog we share some of the results of the Individual Member survey with you. But first, a big thank you to all the members who took part – your contribution helps to influence the direction and shape of our work in the year to come.
The aim of the annual survey is to understand the current barriers that disabled people in Norfolk and Suffolk face and we use this information to build and create services or projects to address these barriers. We also use it to explore how much value is placed on the various benefits of being a member of Equal Lives.
So, to the results. We had a good range of ages in our responses, and although skewed towards the older age range, this is representative of our membership profile. The majority of responses came from disabled members.
This year, we asked members to reflect on the biggest barriers they had experienced in 2021. The top four barriers were identified (in order of importance) as isolation, difficulty accessing medical treatments, finding out about local support, access to social care. Comments from members confirmed that all these barriers were exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic which we know had a disproportionate impact on disabled people.
Other barriers that came lower down the list were discrimination, physical access, access to mental health services, access to welfare benefits and financial difficulties.
Around three-quarters of members who completed the survey were not in paid employment or a volunteer role. This was frequently attributed to disability related restrictions and/or transport.
The value of our online communications is clear from the survey, with our e-bulletin and quarterly magazine ranking the highest in what is most valued about membership with Equal Lives. The next most valued aspects of membership were research and campaigning opportunities, and the connection members have with Equal Lives.
The top two reasons given for why people join Equal Lives as members were 'To learn about disability issues' and 'opportunities', followed by 'Having been previously helped by Equal Lives'.
Over a third of respondents wanted to become membership champions. This is a new and exciting role that members can play in the organisation by getting more involved in our campaigns and in the setting up of new projects and services, as well as being the first to hear about research, consultation, volunteering or media opportunities.
As we progress into the year ahead, we will be using all the results from the survey to inform and influence our work so stay tuned for more details over the coming months. And once again, thank you to all those who took part. We value and appreciate our members!