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Sally Fort, Independent Evaluation Consultant was appointed in July 2019 (
After meetings with the team, the original framework for monitoring outputs and assessing
outcomes was refined to ensure the framework is user friendly for the YWT team and systems are
as accessible as possible especially for children, young people, non-English speakers, and those
with literacy barriers.

The framework is summarised in the three subsequent illustrations.

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628 CYP attendances
240 adult attendances 10

>5 5-7 7-10 11-13 14-16

108 volunteer attendances Age


Not provided

45% Male


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EVENTS: 2019

71 Events
Ave 2.5 hr / event

8 8 8
7 7

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec




5 5
1 1

Oakenshaw Black Wibsey Brackenhill Great Poplar Raw Nook Reevy Mills Dealburn
Mountain Horton Grove Road

Autumn / Winter play sessions 21
Spring / Summer after school 20
Summer holiday play 9
Easter Open Days 6
October Half Term Play 5
National Citizenship Service 3
Outreach 2
Cubs 2
May Bank Holiday play 1
Fungus Walk 1
Apple Day 1

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There is very little data at this stage (just 12 baseline responses collected so far) so the results below are
only a very vague indication.
Connection to Nature
• Children cared most of all about animals.
• They like flowers.
• They are not so concerned with other plants.
• They feel happy outdoors.
• But otherwise don’t recognise the impact of nature on humans in other ways.
• Their awareness of the impact humans have on nature scored lowest of all.
Only 4 follow-up surveys have been collected so far but these are promising. Across those 4
children / young people there is a noticeable difference in
• The impact humans have on nature.
• Feeling more at peace.
• Noticing different sounds.
• Positive change is already evident across 14 of the 16 Nature Connectedness questions.

• Wellbeing scores are generally quite high, with most questions scoring the equivalent of 7
out of 10.
• All but one of the children / young people who responded said they play on the space in
question at least once a week, often more.
• Most children play on the spaces 2-3 hours at a time.
Again, only 4 follow-up surveys have been collected but they do show a noticeable difference in
• Feeling calmer, which showed the highest increases.
• Liking new people, which also showed good increases across the board.
• Feeling significantly more cheerful for to 2 of the 4 children.
• Positive change is already evident across 12 of the 14 Stirling Children’s Wellbeing Scale

Case Study Potential

• One child’s progress was so dramatic that they are responsible for half of all the increase in
wellbeing currently showing. The child has made great progress in feeling proud of
themselves, feeling good at some things, and feeling more cheerful. (However we cannot
say for sure BUD is responsible, since we have no way to discount any other changes in the
child’s life. But BUD is at least contributing, since their connectedness to nature scores also
increased, although at much lower levels).
• Another child has developed their relationship with nature very strongly, seeing more of a
connection between themselves and nature, and the impact they can have on the world.
• Since the time children / young people play out in the spaces has not changed so far, we
know that if the increases aren’t due to a higher quantity of time, they must be due to
better quality of time.
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There is no universal model that works for this project – one size
doesn’t fit all.

Realistically in community engaged work like this, capital work needs

to come later, not in year one.

It takes time to get beneath the skin of a community, its people,

places and habits.
“We started off trying to be everything to everyone and we’ve had to pull back and focus.”
“It’s been experimental. Some ideas may work, some may need adapting, and some may need an
alternative plan.”

The physical landscape and street furniture affects what is possible, practical or
safe to do with families, children and young people. For example, some spaces
are very close to roads and unfenced, or with gaps in fencing. Water needs
testing, draining or cleaning before it can be made safe for wildlife activities.

Getting to know political agendas and how to work with different council
departments who may have different ideas in mind for a space which is changing
its purpose can slow negotiations and community consultation down.

Exploring how budgets of different partners can or can’t be spent on takes time.
Understanding how to negotiate these conversations when coming from
different starting points, or when ideas become deadlocked because of cyclical
conversations or disagreements internally within other partners has been a
complex process which impacts on timing.

The demographics vary greatly between locations. In one area, much of the
population is Eastern European. Families are transient, there is little to no English
spoken or understood. Children are keen to play out close to home but getting
permission from parents for them to join in the project proves a major obstacle.

In another area, parents and families are relatively well educated and
economically secure, but children’s spare time is booked up with clubs. There is
no culture of letting children play out, explore or congregate independently.
Parents support the project’s activities in theory, but it’s a long journey to
change habits enough to see children making their own way to spaces for playing
out and exploring wildlife.

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The Friends group at Wibsey needed help reapplying for the lease on
the site of their community garden. By helping them work through the
process and successfully secure the lease, the project co-ordinator has
nurtured Friends' ownership of the area which will, over time, help
lead new audiences through to the BUD site adjoining that area. At the
same time sowing seeds for long term guardianship of the site.

Families stay very close to the areas they know. Plans to take families
on walks to or around the project sites have been too ambitious for
Year 1, with participants being reluctant, or turning back part way. In
response a result, activities closer to home are happening, starting at
community venues people already know, and play/exploration will
slowly extend outwards as confidence builds.

To overcome language, transience and trust issues, additional activity

has been arranged throughout winter, using known, safe, community
venues to start with so relationships and word of mouth can build in
time for outdoor activity in Spring / Summer 2020.

In Wibsey, where activity has been gaining momentum, sessions were

open to anyone. Families brought children of all ages which made it
harder to engage any of them meaningfully and sustainably. Based on
the clear need to involve different age ranges, the project co-ordinator
arranged to set up a play area for very young children with their
parents, while the BUD team could focus on their older siblings.

At Toadholes Beck, a consultation group suggested animals for

wooden sculptures which will make a trail through the area, guiding
the way and being used for 'bark rubbing' style play. Through the same
area a series of mosaic stepping stones will be created, where local
children decided on the theme of the food chain as the design feature
for them.

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In evaluation terms, the main framework and systems are now in place. For year two the following priorities
need to be put into action in addition to continuing existing data collection.

Increase understanding / confidence of creative /

collective data gathering so less reliant forms

Better understanding of work arounds on Upshot so

not reliant on returned forms to monitor basic data

Add disability monitoring to registration forms

Add volunteer data and ongoing monitoring


Start adult baseline and ongoing outcome monitoring

Embed observations into community group activities

(e.g. schools, scouts, groups with low-no English)

Confirm plans to include children and young people's

own voice in feedback (e.g. film interviews of one
another, creative consultation etc)

Embed data collection into more locations as activity


Review SOPARC data

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