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The people we work with

  • Posted by Annie,
  • Deputy Director,
  • in Listen up

Vocal’s community of public contributors, people who take part in our activities, has grown from 238 in 2017 to over 1000 in December 2022.

The importance of diversity in health research is more urgent than ever, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are still no requirements to collect demographic data about who is involved in research, or who takes part in clinical trials.

We prioritise diversity and inclusion in our work and want to understand who is involved in our work and who isn’t. We invite people to provide information about themselves, including their protected characteristics as defined by the Equalities Act 2010. People don’t have to share this information with us and they can still join in without providing it.

Here we present key data* that people have provided between May 2021 & November 2022. This shows that the people we work with come from a wide range of backgrounds and enables us to see who isn’t well represented so far and to focus our efforts on involving them.


Over 70% of public contributors said they are female, compared to 28% who said they are male, 0.1% said they are non-binary and 0.4% preferred to self-define.

Age & sexuality

Colourful infographic showing the demographics of age and sexuality for Vocal contributors. Age demographics: 14% aged 11-24, 12% aged 25-34, 16% aged 35-44, 22% aged 45-54, 16% aged 55-64, 14% aged 65-74 and 6% aged 75-84. Sexuality demographics: 85% identify as Heterosexual, 7% identify as Gay or Lesbian, 2% identify as Bisexual, 2% prefer to self-define and 4% prefer not to say.


30% of Vocal’s public contributors said that they had a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activity, as defined by the Equalities Act 2010.


Our data collection form uses the same categories for people’s ethnic groups that are used in the UK Census.

Colourful infographic showing the demographics of ethnicity for Vocal contributors. 0.5% prefer not to say, 2.5% identify as White Irish, 1% identify as other White Background, 3% identify as any other Asian or Asian British background, 2% identify as any other Black or Black British background, 4% identify as Black or Black British African, 2% identify as Asian or Asian British Indian, 0.5% idenfity as Mixed White and Black African, 1% identify as Mixed White and Black Caribbean, 1% identify as other Mixed background, 0.5% identify as Mixed White and Asian, 3.5% identify as Black or Black British Caribbean, 5% identify as Asian or Asian British Bangladeshi, 2% identify as Arab, 58% identify as White British, 12% identify as Asian or Asian British Pakistani, 1% identify as Any other ethnic group and 0.5% identify as Asian Chinese.


Colourful infographic showing the demographics of Greater Manchester boroughs for Vocal contributors. 4% are from Wigan, 3% are from Bolton, 4% are from Bury, 4% are from Rochdale, 6% are from Oldham, 4% are from Tameside, 5% are from Salford, 13% are from Trafford, 44% are from Manchester and 13% are from Stockport.

Next steps

We want to involve more men, more people from ethnic minority backgrounds who aren’t well represented currently, more people with disabilities and more LGBT+ people in our work. We also want to increase representation of people from areas in Greater Manchester where the numbers are currently low.

If you’d like to work with us to increase representation of people having a say in health research please get in touch.

*Important information

This is a snapshot of data that people have provided since May 2021. Please note that not all people respond to all the questions and that percentages have been rounded up or down to the nearest whole number, for the purposes of clarity. For more detail please see our peer-reviewed paper which outlines our approach in more depth and analyses data which we collected between December 2018 and March 2022.