I recently completed a second Big Lottery Fund evaluation for Home-Start Shepway, having already worked with them a couple of years ago to write an impact report on New Beginnings, their Big Lottery Fund project supporting mums experiencing domestic abuse.
Soon after we completed that first evaluation, the project was awarded continuation funding of around £500,000 from the Big Lottery Fund, so the bar had already been set high for our evaluation of EPTA, Empowering Parents To Achieve. I was in Folkestone over the summer interviewing parents and volunteers, as well as a number of referrers, including Health Visitors and Children’s Centre managers.
Despite living just a pebble’s throw from the beach where, on a clear day, you can catch a glimpse of France across the English Channel, one mum told me that she avoids taking her kids there and the reason why stuck with me. It’s because they might ask for an ice cream and, if they do, she can’t afford them. Not only that, but she feels guilty; she can’t bear to see the disappointment on their faces when she says no and she doesn’t feel confident about dealing with their emotions if they get upset, so they stay at home.
It may seem like a little thing to some people, but it’s a good example of how EPTA helps Shepway families by offering support, both at home and in groups, to help them increase confidence and self-esteem and by offering courses to develop parenting skills. Claire’s not alone, 23% of children in the district live in income deprived households and this increases to as much as 38% in some parts of Folkestone. The families we interviewed all spoke very positively about the impact of Home-Start Shepway and provided tangible examples of how the Big Lottery Fund project has made a difference in their lives and our report identified a number of potential opportunities and next steps.
“Once again, Steve has provided us with an excellent evaluation. I’m always amazed how he communicates so well with families, staff, volunteers and trustees. The information is so well presented, he has a real understanding of our projects. He is knowledgeable, approachable and very understanding of our families, I highly recommend him.”
Sam O’Connor, Manager, Home-Start Shepway
We’ve supported a number of Home-Start schemes around the UK with Big Lottery Fund evaluations, impact reports, Organisational Strengths Reviews, and strategic support. Find out more here.