The North Yorkshire Stronger Communities Programme
Skyblue is the learning partner for this Programme delivered by a dedicated team employed by North Yorkshire County Council. The Programme supports communities to play a greater role in the delivery of services in the county Stronger communities | North Yorkshire County Council. A formative evaluation is being delivered between 2017 and 2022 helping shape and continuously improve the Programme, most recently in the way it has developed and supported communities to be resourceful and resilient in the face of the pandemic. Please see published reports (right). We are also supporting the design of the Programme’s long-term ‘People, Place, Power’ strategy to 2030 which will explore ways in which community capacity can grow, how gaps (inequalities) can be narrowed and how more community-led place based social action can be encouraged.
East Yorkshire COVID-19 Community Response Hubs Review
In association with Sue Vasey Consulting, Skyblue delivered a review of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s response to COVID in 2021, with a specific focus on how it deployed Council resources in 9 ‘Hub’ catchments, alongside interactions with other partners and the voluntary and community sector. The review has been used to inform future approaches to resilience planning as well as to support the locality based work of community development staff working in the county. The review found that each catchment had very different contexts, assets and characteristics that would therefore require diverse hub responses and evolution in future.
Place Based Social Action
In association with Paul Rhodes Consulting, Skyblue is supporting the learning review of the Hartlepool Social Action Lab, one of a number of projects that form part of the DCMS’ Place Based Social Action Programme (PBSA) in the UK. Evaluating place based social action is a fulfilling and creative process where the community decides for themselves what success looks like by when, and our role is to work alongside them to help develop their capabilities whether that be in advising on research, data or evidence collection processes or supporting them as experts to conduct objective resident surveys that can be benchmarked against wider data such as the Community Life Survey.
Community Engagement Projects
Skyblue has also completed a range of community engagement projects using mixed methods to encourage as many people as possible to engage in local, creative social action. Most recently this has included the ‘LOVE’ Project which stands for Little Ouseburn Village Engagement’. There was a need to determine a community-owned vision for the 150 year old Village Hall and despite the challenges of Covid-19 which meant there could be no face to face contact, half the village participated and the mission to identify energy in the community to take the Hall forward was achieved. Children as young as 6 took part via a colouring competition, and residents as old as 90 gave their views too. A dedicated site has been created which brings the learning from this whole process together in one place www.skyblue.org.uk/love.
The North Yorkshire Youth Mentoring Project, supported by The National Lottery Reaching Communities Fund, is designed to support vulnerable young people through intense, early intervention, one-to-one sessions and group work activities. The aim is to improve their wellbeing, future employment opportunities and to learn new skills. Skyblue is the Project’s learning partner providing formative and summative evaluation services between 2020 and 2023. Using participatory research techniques designed with the young people themselves, we help bring out their feelings so that their voices can be heard to influence investment in services and youth mentoring support that will improve their lives in a meaningful way. This work builds on years of helping evaluate and improve youth programmes (linked to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games) that aim to help them feel greater agency, and take positive steps towards education, volunteering, social action, employment and enterprise.
Voluntary, community sector and social enterprises
Skyblue seeks to support the VCSE sector in two ways; first, by undertaking research and evaluation that can influence investment to the sector’s benefit; second, by providing direct organisational development support for VCSEs in specific areas of expertise including the ability to demonstrate impact to stakeholders (please see ‘Stronger Organisations’ section of this site).
Recent and current research includes:
- The impact of Covid-19 on the VCSE sector in North Yorkshire (see article right)
- VCSE sector leadership
- Skyblue has supported initial research for Community First Yorkshire who have established a Leadership Hub for the sector (Leadership – Community First Yorkshire).
- Skyblue is evaluating the Hull and East Yorkshire Confident Futures Programme being delivered by the Two Ridings Foundations with funding support from The National Lottery and Rank Foundation.
North Yorkshire Voluntary and Community Sector Resilience Survey Results Published
What is the impact of Covid-19 on the VCSE sector?
These new results highlight the challenges and opportunities ahead with implications for recovery planning and joint investment.
Evaluation of the North Yorkshire Stronger Communities Programme (2018-2019)