Written by Adam Rees, BAB Director
Its a question that many of us ask ourselves a little too often in life, but in delivering the BAB programme it is something we need to ask when thinking about how we can evidence our work.
We have been a given a unique opportunity, with £5.9million over 5 years, to deliver 16 specific projects that each takes a different approach to tackling isolation and loneliness. Some projects, like Age Friendly Bristol, use a more strategic approach by trying to influence local decision-makers to improve services for older people, while others seek to make small changes at community levels.
We must constantly ask ourselves "Why are we doing this?" when we are considering what projects to fund next. However much we would like to do so, this is funding to develop new approaches and to show the effect they have on isolated and lonely older people.
One of the conditions of funding from Big Lottery Fund is to record the distance travelled of people who come to BAB funded projects feeling isolated or lonely. We do this through a questionnaire that we call the Common Measurement Framework or CMF, which allows us to measure the person’s wellbeing when they first come in contact with the projects, follow up throughout their journey, and identify what has worked in reducing their isolation.
These forms have recently been redesigned based on feedback from participants and delivery partners and you can find them on Our Evaluation Tools page on our website. We are hoping the new design will make it more accessible for people to participate in this exciting piece of work, contributing with their experience to shaping the national agenda to tackle isolation and loneliness. The forms include quite a few questions, but it is important for us to prove that people are feeling better and having more social contact because of the projects we fund.
For all of the exciting activities and projects that BAB gets involved with, we must always remember that we are doing this to make those older people in need, less isolated and less lonely. You can be sure that when we commission our next round of projects in the autumn, we will be asking all of the bidders "Why are you doing this?"
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