Hearing stories of change

Using a Transformative Evaluation method to evaluate Together for Childhood

Publication date 2022

Together for Childhood is an ambitious place-based project that aims to prevent abuse and neglect and help make communities safer for children. As part of our evaluation of Together for Childhood we used a ‘storytelling approach’ (a Transformative Evaluation method). Using this method we aimed to generate evidence of impact by collecting stories of change.

We collected stories from community members and other partners, asking them to describe the most important change for them as a result of their involvement with Together for Childhood. We shared these stories in workshops to facilitate discussions about what the project is achieving. We collected and shared 37 stories in total across our four Together for Childhood sites between 2020 and 2021.

In this report we consider what the stories tell us about the programme and the benefits of using a Transformative Evaluation method.

Authors: Denise Coster and Emma Moore
Published: May 2022

“The stories show how powerful the services that we are offering have been. It feels like we have made a significant difference to a lot of people."

NSPCC Together for Childhood staff

Key findings

Evidence of positive change through Together for Childhood

The Transformative Evaluation approach has helped us understand the changes that are happening as a result of the Together for Childhood project. The stories collected from local community members and professionals show how the initiative is changing people's lives in a range of ways, both personally and professionally.

Sharing stories helps us understand progress and what works well

Discussing the stories together allowed partners within Together for Childhood to reflect on, and understand, where progress is being made. The workshops allowed space for careful consideration of the impacts of Together for Childhood through people's lived experiences, and highlighted what works well.

Reaffirming the value of staff 

Collecting stories gave Together for Childhood staff, including social work practitioners and community engagement staff, an opportunity to reflect on the importance of their role. The stories gave staff a sense of pride in their work, and demonstrated its value to senior strategic stakeholders. The discussions about these stories also helped to bolster a joint vision on what Together for Childhood is trying to achieve.

“It was encouraging and motivating, sometimes you get frustrated with the limits of what you can do, or we always want to do more… sometimes it’s hard to see or you can feel a bit disheartened about what impact you are actually having so it’s nice to see to hear that for those reasons really.”

NSPCC Together for Childhood staff

Citation

Please cite as: Coster, D. and Moore, E. (2022) Hearing stories of change: using a Transformative Evaluation method in the evaluation of Together for Childhood. London: NSPCC.