Understanding and improving impact in young people's lives
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Are we proving to improve?

Exploring our certainties: proving to improve

This month, Kenton Hall, Communications Officer for the Centre, offers his reflections on "proving" and "improving" and the questions this discussion have raised within the youth sector:

Imagine for a moment that you know nothing about working with young people.

For those who have dedicated their lives to the study and practice of supporting better outcomes for young people, this may seem an impossible leap to make. It is too much part of the fabric of who they are; they are confronted, day-to-day, by challenges both personal and procedural, by the dichotomy between the complexity of working with individuals and the minutiae of enabling the provision of this work.

And, most importantly, there are actual young people involved, whose lives and futures can be affected positively or negatively as a result of that work.

Read the full article


Two Years with the Centre for Youth Impact
As the Centre for Youth Impact begins the expansion of our work with our new networks, we caught up with Steve Hillman, Director of Policy and Impact at the Foyer Federation and Lucy Maynard, Head of Research at the Brathay Trust, to reflect on their experiences as Early Adopters with the Centre, how these collaborations have shaped the future, and their work to come as network leads.

"This is Youth Impact" - November Essay
The newest essay in the "This is Youth Impact" series is now available to read and download. This month, Beyond outcomes: preserving the long term impact of youth work comes from Jane Melvin of the University of Brighton. This new piece, along with the previous essays in the collection can be found here.

The #iwill campaign is a UK-wide movement that aims to make involvement in social action (e.g. fundraising, volunteering and campaigning) a normal part of life for
10-20 year-olds by the year 2020. As part of the campaign's Data and Quality Assurance Group, the Centre will be working with coordinating charity, Step up to Serve and Generation Change to understand what effective practice looks like and sharing that through a learning network

In case you missed it

On measurement and personal development: call for contributions to upcoming event
The Centre for Youth Impact will be hosting a day-long event in early 2017 focused on issues of measurement and personal and social development. The day will explore policy, practical and philosophical debates about how and whether we should seek to measure the development of social and emotional skills in young people - also referred to as non-cognitive skills, soft skills and character, amongst other terms. We want to structure a thought-provoking and engaging day that introduces participants to a range of ideas and activities.

We've had some great ideas already, but there's still some time for you to get in touch if you'd be interested in contributing to the event - either sharing your work in a breakout session or presenting - or if you have a view on what you'd like to see included at the event. We'll be opening up for bookings later this year.

What we're reading

Actionable Measurement: getting from “prove” to “improve”
What would happen if we just talked about improving impact? This fascinating article from Matthew Forti and Kim Siegal of One Acre Fund, written for the Stanford Social Innovation Review explores the continuing debate between “proving” and “improving".

The evidence system in the mental health charity sector
This study by Giving Evidence looks at the use of evidence in mental health organisations and the challenges they face in developing and implementing evidence systems.

Evidence is a journey. Should it lead to proving or improving?
Frances Flaxington of Catch22 writes about the evidence journey taken by the Realising Ambition programme and the questions it raised about proving versus improving.

Blog Roundup

Evidencing the value of youth work
In this guest blog for the Centre, Dan Barton, Senior Area Youth Worker for Devon Youth Service, discusses his experience of measuring evidence in youth work and the questions and thoughts it has inspired.

The evaluation pitfalls of popular programmes
In this blog for the Centre of Public Impact, Dan Corry, the Chief Executive of NPC, discusses the vital issue of what organisations actually want from an evaluation and these can be best used to improve, rather than simply prove, the effectiveness of services.

How can we make impact measurement more useful?
In this response piece to David Ainsworth's article, How do you measure the value of impact measurement?, Caroline Fiennes addresses some of the misconceptions surrounding impact measurement, weaknesses in how it is often applied and ways in which, potentially, it can be designed to be more useful.

Defining positive outcomes
In the first of a series from the Stanford Social Innovation Review, produced in partnership with Third Sector Capital Partners, contributors from a variety of sectors in the US discuss how positive outcomes might be defined, whether on the level of individuals or in terms of macro-level policy. In the first piece, “A Question of Outcomes”, Caroline Whistler and John Grossman of Third Sector Capital Partners, offer a series of questions about organisations’ approach to outcomes.


Centre and Network Events

Good change - young people and sustainable development goals
7 February, Lancaster
Presented by the University of Cumbria and Brathay Trust, Stuart Wroe, a lecturer at the University of Cumbria, leads a seminar of the subject of young people as agents of sustainable change.

Register Now

Other Events You Might Be Interested In

Youth Employment Convention 2016
5 December, London
The 2016 Youth Employment Convention, hosted by the Learning & Work Insitute, places young people at the heart of the youth employment debate.The Convention will be hearing from young people themselves, showcasing the most innovative support from across the country and exploring the evidence of what’s really working to enable all young people to gain the skills and experience they need for work and throughout their lives.

Book Now

Free Sported East Midlands Fundraising Workshop
28 November, Leicester
Sported’s fundraising workshop is designed to help youth and community sport organisations looking to raise funds for their organisation from external sources. Those who attend will learn how to: identify funding priorities, plan fundraising effectively, write a grant funding application, engage and utilise other sources of funding, and understand the importance of monitoring and evaluation.
Book Now

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