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Empowering communities in Northumberland


Evaluating the impact of charity services and community programmes has become an important aspect of Goodlabs’ offer over the last couple of years. Sometimes we handle evaluations in-house and on other occasions team up with other evaluators. This month we commenced a new partnership project with Asset Based Consulting and Helme Park. Together we’ll be evaluating one of the most innovative new projects taking place in the North East: the Empowering Communities project, working across Northumberland.

The joint initiative from Northumberland County Council and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is rooted in the theory of Salutogenesis: an approach the focuses on the factors that make us well, rather than those that make us ill. Trevor Hopkins brings exceptional insight to the team having written extensively on the subject of Asset Based Community Development in recent years. Simon Penhall is well respected for his work in the arena of Theory of Change. Goodlabs will be contributing substantially to a series of ‘Lab’ events through which VSCO’s will be consulted, as well as assessing the effectiveness of a new ‘Asset Mapping’ technology that will be rolled out through the project.

Evaluating support to Adult Carers

ACES cover.png

The Big Lottery is the UK’s largest community funder with annual grant-making in excess of £500million per year to over 10,000 grant recipient organisations. As such, ensuring that its money is well-spend and making an impact is hugely important.

Goodlabs were appointed to evaluate the impact of a substantial three-year grant given to North Tyneside Carers Centre in support of their work with Adult Carers. A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health or substance misuse problem cannot cope without their support. Many carers struggle alone and do not know their rights or that help is available to them. Taking on a caring role can mean facing a life of poverty, isolation, frustration, ill health and depression.

Our evaluation looked at the full range of support activities being provided to Adult Carers and included interviewing staff, volunteers, beneficiaries and professional stakeholders. There was also the task of scrutinising, assessing and interpreting 3 years worth of management data relating to over 1000 clients.

We were pleased to report that NTCC exceeded the overall numbers of carers that it hoped to reach and that the ACES project achieved its goals in each of its four key outcome themes. Lessons learned over the course of the project were included in our final report, along with a number of strategic recommendations for the future to further strengthen organisational capacity.

Conducting evaluations is a growing part of our work at Goodlabs. Please do get in touch if you’d like us to tender for proposal work that you might have coming up: