Connecting local support: A qualitative study exploring the role of voluntary organisations in long-term condition management

Rebecca Morris, Susan Kirk, Anne Kennedy, Ivaylo Vassilev, Amy Mathieson, Mark Jeffries, Christian Blickem, Helen Brooks, Caroline Sanders, Anne Rogers

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Objectives To examine the role of community groups to support people living with long-term conditions and the organisational factors that influence this role.
    Methods Thirty-three semi-structured interviews were conducted with voluntary group organisers purposefully sampled in Greater Manchester from a local database of community groups. Interviews explored the organisations role in supporting people living with a long-term condition, their social networks and the origins of the groups.
    Results Respondents’ construed their role in supporting individual capacity for management either explicitly (e.g. providing exercise) or implicitly (e.g. emotional support). This role was influenced by a combination of group ideology, funding and social networks. Analysis highlights the role of the non-clinical setting, the social support provided within the group, as well as organisational processes that influenced their capacity to support people living with long-term conditions.
    Conclusion By examining the organisation of voluntary groups, this study highlights the way in which they may support or constrain access to an extended range of support for people with long-term conditions. This paper has implications for commissioning of services by the health service from the third sector because of the differing ideological perspectives and limited operational capacity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)140-155
    Number of pages15
    JournalChronic illness
    Issue number2
    Early online date7 Sept 2014
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2015


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