News from the Network: Healthy Valleys’ Grassroots Project - evidence and evaluation

This case study as taken from CHEX-Point Newsletter issue 47. It is part of an article examining the use and importance different kinds of evidence and evaluation in community-led practice. You can download the full issue here

South Lanarkshire based community-led health organisation, Healthy Valleys, has successfully implemented an evaluation method called Family Impact Star to gather evidence of the impact of their Grassroots Project. The Project supports pregnant women and families with children under five years old who live in rural South Lanarkshire and are in need of extra help.

Healthy Valleys’ Grassroots Project was launched in November 2012 by Aileen Campbell, MSP for Clydesdale and Minister for Children and Young People. The Project is a volunteer-led early intervention programme in which trained volunteers support pregnant women and families with children under 5 years old who need extra help. It is funded by the Big Lottery until March 2015.

The project takes a two-pronged approach to early intervention:

  1. Intensive Parental Support Programme (IPSP) supports pregnant women, dads and other carers in need of support to attend vital antenatal and postnatal appointments. Families benefit from this by being matched to a volunteer who supports their involvement with Grassroots to enable a positive, trusting relationship to form and provide consistency and stability which brings about positive outcomes 
  2. Family Education Support Programme (FESP) offers a range of learning and development opportunities that other services / organisations don’t already offer. 

The Grassroots Project uses an in-house ‘Family Impact Star’ evaluation template to measure a range of things including confidence, parenting skills, wellbeing and community engagement/participation. 

The Family Outcome Star measures individual outcomes such as self-esteem, parenting skills and emotional wellbeing as well as more community focussed outcomes such as a person’s social networks and levels of community engagement and participation. The project works with families to identify scores out of ten for these factors, and uses findings to develop Family Support Plans and to prioritise support. This evaluation is complimented by session records, activity evaluations and case studies.

Family Impact Star has proven to be an extremely useful way of visualising impact on families who take part in the Grassroots Project. By embedding regular evaluation at the core of Grassroots, Healthy Valleys has illustrated that evaluation need not be seen as an ‘add-on’ that distracts from delivering services. Rather, the evaluation, involving planning, reflection and improvement, is a crucial part of the service delivery. 

Read the full article here

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