Following our participation in the Measuring the Good programme run by Volunteering Matters, we’ve developed an impact measurement approach. This has enabled us to develop a Theory of Change against which we evaluate our impact, and to develop more specific evaluation tools and techniques. We’re also rolling out this approach to our licensees. In the first session of each Josephine and Jack course, participants are asked/assisted to fill out a short questionnaire asking them how they’ve felt in the last two weeks using the recognised Warwick Edinburgh Wellbeing Scale. At the end of the 10-week course they’re asked to complete the form again. From this we can get a progression figure which we use as a proxy for improvement.

In session one we also ask them to tell us three things they’d like to know on the course and at the end we ask them whether they think those issues have been covered. In session 10, our Chief Executive or a Trustee visits the group and does a structured evaluation of how the group have found it. Participants are asked to identify one thing they’re going to do as a result of the course – and three months later we contact them to remind them/ask them how they’ve got on.

Information is collated into impact reports that are reviewed by our lead trustee for impact, our course leaders and our participants through regular meetings. The learning is incorporated into our delivery to ensure continuous improvement and incorporation of participants’ needs and feedback.

We’ve evaluated five courses like this now and have noted an average improvement in people’s perceptions of their feelings of wellbeing of 11.8% over the 10 weeks of the course.