“How do we know we’re making a difference?”

This was the question that motivated Big Local areas from all over England to come to four training events facilitated by Just Ideas in Birmingham, Bristol and York for Local Trust! Each event brought together Big Local partnerships to share their experience of measuring change in their communities, sorting outputs from outcomes and indicators from evidence.

Local Trust commissioned Just Ideas and WSA Community Consultants to develop and deliver a introductory course to give people a better understanding of what measuring change is. The course provided an overview of measuring change, why it’s important and a tool to help Big Local areas think through the vision for their area and collect relevant evidence – a theory of change.

So far 57 Big Local Areas have participated in the training and a final course, delivered by WSA Community Consultants, is running in London in August. Feedback has been great! These comments from the Birmingham course reflect how participants valued the training:

“Best training I have been to as long as I have been with Big Local!”

What did we learn? The courses were a great opportunity for areas to reflect on the progress they have made, the plans they have in place and grow in confidence about the approaches to evaluation and learning that they are already using as well as discovering new ones. 81% of participants found sharing stories of change with other Big Local areas most useful. We heard brilliant examples of engaging and participatory ways of getting feedback and evidence from the community while thinking about the expected outcomes of projects and activities. To give you a flavour: drone photography to capture images of community events; a movable sofa for community conversation and consultation; focus groups; using social media for feedback and comments; Vox pops (talking head films that can be shared on YouTube) and tracking volunteer ours using the Twine app.

We look forward to supporting Big Local areas over the next year through Local Trust’s bespoke Measuring Change support programme.