We are continually looking at ways to measure the impact of our work. We do this for a number of reasons (not an exhaustive list):
How do measure our impact? What follows on this page is a collection of reviews, case-studies, evaluations and reports related to the activities we undertake. As well as collecting the usual quantitative data, we encourage qualitative data collection. We do this by using self-determined measurements in areas such as health, well-being and independence. We use social return on investment tools that highlight the cost savings, where they have experienced positive change.
Ultimately, we want to makes peoples life's better, we want stronger communities that are resilient and we want everyone to have fair access to services and avoid the damaging and costly effects of social, physical and digital isolation.
Case Study A - Community Agent
Mrs A., an 82 year lady was referred to a community agent by the Wishing Well Project, Crewe. There were concerns that after her recent discharge from hospital, she would have limited support at home. She had a large house in Crewe, but lived in the downstairs section due to mobility issues. Although Mrs A had a son in Crewe who generally supported her with bringing her shopping, she had not been out of the house for a number of years. Her living conditions were very poor, she was sleeping on her couch in the lounge, as she couldn’t access the stairs. She had access to a commode in the lounge and could; if need be; access her toilet outside as she couldn’t manage stairs. This had been the family home for over 60 years and had become extremely cluttered since her husband passed away and seemed to be a hazard for Mrs A to get about with her walking frame. Also a diabetic, but couldn’t be prescribed insulin as she lived alone and had no land line. Our Agent supported her to claim attendance allowance which was awarded. Her diet was very poor due to struggling to prepare meals for herself. It was arranged for Wishing Well to deliver a hot meal several times a week. She was also referred into the Red Cross to support her at home for 6 weeks. Care and Repair provided some small heaters and completed a safety check with raised further concerns of her Health and Wellbeing in the property. Eventually, Mrs A decided she couldn’t cope any longer in the condition she was living and wanted support to find sheltered accommodation. She was supported with an application for sheltered accommodation. She was successful with the application and was able to claim housing benefits until the sale of her house was complete. She asked for support to put her house up on the market, we contacted a couple of estate agents and arranged viewings with Mrs A.
Mrs A had a friend that supported her with decluttering and packing for the move, all the neighbours got involved to help move her into her new property. Mrs A moved into her new property, all one level with adapted bathroom and assisted technology. The community agent arranged for the local carpet supplier to fit new carpets in the hall and accompanied her to purchase a cooker and helped her order a new settee for the lounge. She was referred to Wishing Well Day Centre and she now attends every week for a lunch group, the lady that supported her decluttering now supports her each day as a private arrangement to help with bathing routines, cleaning and taking her out into the community. She was also supported her in her application for a Blue Badge and to become a member of the Crewe and Nantwich Car scheme. The new befriending service from Wishing Well / St Luke’s has now been put in place to go and see Mrs A on a weekly basis. We just have to clear the contents of the house for the sale to be complete. Mrs A can now access her GP surgery with the support of the Car scheme and her friend carer who supports her without relying on a home visit from the GP. She has now been signed off by the Physiotherapist who can’t believe the difference in her mobility, health and well-being since the move.
Case Study B - Community Building Advisor
What methods and activities were included in the support you provided?
This charity had been poorly managed for a number of years and following intervention by the Charity Commission, an AGM was held and a new committee were elected. We advised during this period of transition using the charity’s governing document as a guide in terms of governance and other legal obligations. Once the new committee was in place, we ensured that the correct policies and procedures were adopted and the relevant officers were elected. As the premises had been left in a poor financial state, we gave guidance on funding opportunities and how best to raise significant amounts of money quickly (e.g. accessing money locally and holding fundraising events). We also helped the committee to apply for a new alcohol licence and helped them to put in place measures to ensure that the building was safe and met current fire and health and safety regulations. We are currently working with the committee to develop a business plan which will be used as a basis to apply for grant funding for a complete refurbishment of the building.
What changed for the beneficiaries as a result?
Since the new committee was elected in 2015, there has been a dramatic turnaround in the health of the charity. The finances were so poor back in February that the building was potentially only weeks away from closure. As a result of various fundraising events, donations and refunds of some bank and electricity charges, the charity’s finances are now in a much stronger position. The committee has also recently managed to raise a significant amount of money (through donations) to refurbish part of grounds. A ‘friends’ group was launched over the summer and there are currently over 130 new friends of the establishment. The committee communicates regularly with both the friends and the wider community about events and activities being offered and as a result, there is far more interest in the premises in general.
What difference did your support make?
Initially, our advice was invaluable in terms of getting the new committee up and running. We were able to provide various templates and guidance notes on all aspects of managing a community building. We carried out a healthcheck of the charity to see where there were any gaps in governance or procedures and where there were, we were able to signpost the committee to the relevant guidance. The fact that they were able to access this information so readily from us allowed the health of the charity to be improved so quickly. Our advice and guidance also helped to build up the confidence of the entire committee, many of whom had no previous experience of running a community building.
What did your organisation learn as a result?
The support provided was within our organisational knowledge and experience. However, we were surprised by how quickly the committee managed to garner the support of the whole community and turn the finances of the organisation around so quickly.
Would anything have improved those outcomes?
Not at this stage but we are continuing to provide in depth support and will reassess further outcomes and outputs at a later date.
Has the organisation changed as a result of your support?
As well as the obvious financial benefits, our support has helped to create a far more inclusive and welcoming community asset. The charity is in a much stonger position both legally and procedurally – making it far less prone to intervention and potential closure in the future. The first stage of the refurbishment will go ahead in 2016 and more funding opportunities will be explored following the development of a business plan shortly. We will continue to work with and support the committee on these elements.
We have recently carried out an interim evaluation of our Community Agents project. This is available for download on the left hand side of this page. As of October 2015 the project has:
The 3 case studies cited in the interim evaluation have saved the taxpayer in excess of £250,000. That's the figure for just 3 beneficiaries with over 2000 supported.
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