Frequently asked questions

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about being a research volunteer. If you cannot find the answer to your question, please email us at patientinsight@versusarthrits.org.

What’s the application process to become a research volunteer?
Email us on patientinsight@versusarthrits.org. At several times in the year, we provide a welcome induction online and then you will be invited to join the network. We will regularly send you information about opportunities. If you volunteer for a particular task, there may be a selection process. If so this is usually submitting some information on why you are a good fit for the role and checking you can make the time commitment.

What skills and experience do you need to become a research volunteer?
Volunteers bring a variety of skills, including good communication skills (written and verbal), the confidence to offer views and take an active part in discussions and perhaps an interest in research and the difference it can make. Ultimately volunteers all have one thing: experience and insight of day-to-day life with a musculoskeletal condition.

Is there any training provided?
Yes, we provide all volunteers with a welcome induction and relevant task specific training and support. There is also a volunteer handbook with key information about the charity, the role and our research.

What kind of activities might I be asked to do?
We want to make sure people affected by arthritis work with us across all our activities. You might be reviewing applications from researchers, helping us make a funding decision, sitting on an advisory group that helps us set our research priorities or talking to a researcher about your experiences and helping them plan the involvement of people with arthritis in their research. It is varied and developing! You can also decide to volunteer in other parts of the charity too!

Are there minimum commitments in terms of time and duties?
It is up to you to decide how much (or how little) time you would like to contribute. We advertise opportunities as they come up and ask volunteers to put themselves forward if interested. A few roles are fixed for a period of time but most roles operate on a shorter “task and finish” basis. We do appreciate that everyone has other commitments and that “life happens” so at any point you can pause/ withdraw or simply not put your hand up.

Are health conditions accommodated for and how do these impact on the role?
Any activities that volunteers undertake in the role will be sensitive to all long-term health conditions, including arthritis. Meetings are designed around good musculoskeletal health, and much thought is put into accessibility and people’s needs. At the moment, all our interactions are conducted online and you will be supported to be comfortable in using the technology and accessing relevant information and support.

Is this a paid role and will volunteering cost me anything?
This is a voluntary role and therefore unpaid. However, volunteering shouldn’t cost you anything. Expenses incurred whilst carrying out the role are reimbursed (standard-class travel, mileage, overnight stays as agreed).