Impact Measurement….

…..What’s the benefit??

With all the time, hard work and funds that go into the daily operation of The Red Shed Project, it is really important to be sure that the what we do is effective and achieves our mission to ‘alleviate isolation and promote wellbeing in people touched by dementia’

We can measure the impact our service by recording various numbers – a quantitative measurement that currently shows a steady increase in participants. We also need to take a qualitative measurement which is normally done through interview, observation and questionnaires. Both measurements are necessary to: – highlight the benefits our participants experience from their time with us. – show funders exactly how their grants and donations are making a difference. – to helps us review what we are doing, to ensure that our work is making a difference.

There are lots of different Impact Measuring tools available, from forms and templates of questions to choosing from a range of faces – 🙂smiley to 🙁glum! However, none of these are very dementia friendly. We needed a way of recording responses that was easy for everyone to engage with, even if your dementia affects your ability to read or your ability to express your feelings or even your capacity for facial recognition.

We have devised a way of using the 5 Ways to Wellbeing as part of the design of our workshops. The 5 Ways have been researched by The New Economics Foundation and is used by lots of organisations including the NHS. The 5 steps are Being Active, Connecting with others, Noticing your surroundings, Giving your time or small acts of kindness and learning. Now, after each session we can record if a participant has experienced any of the 5 Ways and we can do this by observing them if they are unable to articulate themselves.

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A coloured disc can be chosen for each of the 5 Ways and we can then record the results in a pie chart to see how effective the workshops are. The chart below shows that our ‘Lets Get Going’ workshops were particularly effective in getting people connected and learning something new.

So far this has been really useful and a great way to underpin our work. If any other organisations working with people who have dementia would like to give it a go – they are very welcome!