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Dorset, England - A Case Study

A three-year partnership with Public Health Dorset and Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (DAONB) to build evaluation capability across government departments and guide the evaluation of Stepping into Nature. 

'Stepping into Nature' and Building Evaluation Capability in the Dorset Council Area 

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Dorset County Council and Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty were funded by the National Community Lottery to deliver the Stepping into Nature Project for three years from 2017 to 2020. The goal of Stepping into Nature was to improve the wellbeing of older people, including people living with dementia and their carers, by facilitating their connection with Dorset's natural environment through a range of nature-based activities.

Visual Insights People were contracted to develop and guide the evaluation of Stepping into Nature in partnership with Public Health Dorset, DAONB, and activity providers. Building the evaluation capability of all partners alongside guiding the evaluation of Stepping into Nature, was a focus from the beginning of the partnership, and before the project commenced, in early 2017.

In the beginning - What the Dorset Partnership Needed

Public Health Dorset, DOANB, and Dorset County Council needed an external team with expertise in Public Health and the evaluation of dementia-friendly community initiatives.

The Dorset partnership saw the Stepping into Nature evaluation as an opportunity to:

- Build evaluation capability and capacity with the government sectors;

- Strengthen the relationships between the Dorset partners; and

- Develop a strong evidence-base for the difference Stepping into Nature makes to the connectedness and wellbeing of older people.

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The Role of Visual Insights People in the Project Evaluation and Capacity-Building

Dr Samantha Abbato and the Visual Insights team led the evaluation and capacity building for the Dorset partnership over a three and a half year period from 2017 to 2020.

Our experience in public health, the evaluation community dementia-friendly initiatives, evaluation training and capacity building, and digital online capability facilitated an effective partnership for supporting the evaluation objectives of Stepping into Nature, DOANB, and Public Health Dorset. 

Sam and the Visual Insights team guided the evaluation and built capability by:

- The creation of a comprehensive evaluation guide

- Provision of visual frameworks and evaluation tools

- Bi-weekly to monthly video conference meetings with the team

- Responding to partner feedback and questions

- Annual five-to-seven-day evaluation capacity building workshops

- Guidance and feedback on evaluation data collection, analysis and reporting

How the Project and the Dorset Partnership Benefited

Are you ready to build your evaluation capacity?

Our team training packages are ideal for you and your team if you:

  • Want to improve the service you provide and the difference you make

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What is the cost?

Take advantage of our introductory package price in 2022.

A standard 4-topic session package (6 weeks, BYO facilitator with a team of 6) is $2900 (excl. GST)


This is roughly equivalent to the cost of one person attending an interstate conference.

For a team of six, this equates to less than $500 per person per course.

And it includes evaluation tools and facilitator resources that you and your team and continue to use.

Contact us to enrol your team to take steps to build evaluation capability and organisational strength.

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And we can customise our packages to suit the specific needs of your organisation. Contact us to find out how.

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