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
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.
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
the stepping into nature project
The Stepping into Nature project team and activity providers were supported in evaluating the project through the collaborative development of a comprehensive Evaluation Guide. The guide was updated regularly to incorporate the feedback and practical needs of the team collecting, managing and analysing the evaluation data.
The collaborative productive of evidence-based, visually engaging and action-oriented evaluation reports to the funder supported the continued funding and extension of the project to other areas of England.
Stepping into Nature Evaluation Reports, Evaluation Guide and current project information can be accessed and downloaded via the links below
dorset evaluation capability
Evaluation training workshops facilitated annually with participants from Public Health Dorset, DAONB, NHS Dorset, Active Dorset, other areas of Dorset Council and local organisations, built evaluation capability of staff. The training supported participants in directly applying the knowledge, skills and tools to their current projects. Participants built on training over the three annual 5-8 day workshop series through the provision of basic, intermediate and advanced training in: evaluation modelling, evaluation methods, impactful reporting, and digital techniques.
A complete list of training topics provided, participant testimonials of how they have applied the training, and more information on training packages are provided below
legacy of evaluation capacity
Evidence of increased evaluation capacity across Dorset includes:
-The continued application of evaluation modelling, including theory of change and program logic, within Public Health Dorset, DAONB, and other Dorset council areas
-More impactful presentation of evaluation findings through report writing and presentations
- Strengthened systematic data collection and analysis - both qualitative and quantitative data.
Testimonials and examples of evaluation work produced since the completion of the Visual Insights evaluation training are provided below
Are you ready to build your evaluation capacity?
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