It is important that we understand the impact we have on people’s recovery, so we can ensure that we are providing the most effective support. We ask people in a number of ways:
- We ask people to fill in GAD7/PHQ9 and CSRI questionnaires to tell us how they are feeling (how depressed or anxious). This then gives us statistical data against which we can evaluate improvement.
- We ask people to set goals they want to achieve whilst working with us, and we discuss these goals regularly.
- Everyone has a monthly one to one meeting to discuss how they are feeling, any issues and to set targets for recovery.
- We monitor attendance levels against a health sector benchmark for comparison. We contact people if they don’t attend to make sure they are ok.
Growing Well does not provide ‘day care’. We are focused on recovery and progression. People can stay with us for as long as they need, often several years, but our emphasis is on movement, achieving goals and getting better. 80% of the people we work with return to work or go on to further training or volunteering.
It was good to be involved…and as time went on, I found myself really enjoying that and I think that was part of getting better too. I was able to do something… I had things to offer…It made me feel valued. And that’s what Growing Well does so well, it makes you feel valued, even if you don’t feel valuable.
So I think it just brings you out of your illness...because you spend so much time in your head, cut off from the world…you step out of your own problems and out of your own head and see the world again.
Service Evaluation of the Growing Well Therapeutic Community
The data collection process was concerned with exploring two distinct lines of enquiry; firstly, whether or not members felt that they had changed as a result of their participation in the TC, and if so, what the nature of these changes was. The second line of enquiry was related to what aspects of the TC were experienced as most helpful and which were experienced as unhelpful.
Questions asked of the Theapeutic Community were:
What is it like coming here to Growing well?
What has been your experience of attending the project?
How have you benefitted from attending?
What has changed for you since coming here?
What do you think has brought about these changes?
Can you say something about the different activities and how each of them helps?
Is there anything that hasn’t changed for you that you wish had changed?
If you compare GW to other services you have received in the past, in what ways is it different and in what ways is it the same?
Is there anything about the project that you would like to be different? Do you have any recommendations?
We commissioned an independent evaluation report in 2013 which showed that 76% of people showed an increase in well-being at some point during their involvement with us.
We have also worked with the New Economics Foundation, using Social Return on Investment methodology.
We are currently working with Symbiont Consulting to evaluate our activity over a three year period, focusing on the long term impact of our support. The year 1 evaluation is available to download.
We are also currently working with the University of Salford to audit the outcomes of our Friday Therapeutic Community provision.
Growing Well offers an intervention that is incredibly well valued by the participating volunteers. Clear positive impact was shown with regard to volunteer’s well-being and mental health recovery. Volunteers value Growing Well as a unique experience and distinguish this from other forms of mental health support.
Brathay Research Hub 2013