Infobuzz - Early Intervention Youth Funding (EIYF) Project evaluation report

Baker, Colin ORCID: 0000-0001-8971-2829 (2020) Infobuzz - Early Intervention Youth Funding (EIYF) Project evaluation report. Project Report. Infobuzz / University of Gloucestershire.

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The purpose of the Early Intervention Youth Funding (EIYF) is to provide support for early intervention programmes with young people at risk of criminal involvement, as victims and/or perpetrators. Reflecting the EIYF funding guidance a multi-component project was devised in collaboration with key local stakeholders including schools and the fire service in order to deliver an inclusive project targeted at known local areas of need. Signposting to other services was provided when needed to support those engaged in the project and primary data concerning experiences was sought from a range of participants. The project began in December 2019 and completed in March, 2020. Some disruptions were experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, the project exceeded its targets for engaging school children (Year 6, 160% of target, n=240), met its counselling target (100% of 20 young people), and partially met its targets for engaging young people in additional safety activities (85% of 40, n=34), and parents (52% of 50, n=26). Counselling The project had a positive impact on the target audience across all components. Mean (all weeks) data for those young people receiving counselling support indicated that a relatively large proportion of young people sometimes felt nervous, confused, angry and sad (68.8% - 58.4%), and approximately 60% of young people reported never feeling lonely. 25% or less indicated never being scared, nervous, confused, angry or tired. Whilst there was insufficient data to make a detailed analysis of trends over time the results provided an indicative a positive move towards ‘never’ in respect of feeling nervous, sad and angry (>50.0% – 18.8%) which were accompanied by corresponding positive shifts away from ‘sometimes’ feeling this way following the counselling sessions. School-based sessions The majority of schools (Sites) were located in Gloucester district (young people n=161, 58.1%), followed by Cheltenham (young people n=73, 26.4%) and Stroud (young people n=6, 2.2%). Strongest overall agreement (on a scale from 1 to 6, 6 indicating stronger agreement) was reported for ‘I have a good level of understanding about where I live and play’ and ‘I know what I can do to stay happy and healthy and how not to become involved in crime’ (both = 5.41, SD = 0.99 and 1.15 respectively). The item with least overall agreement was ‘I would like to be safer and happier where I live and play’ (3.30, SD = 1.99). The sample means hid variations between schools whereby Site Nine (n = 28 young people) reported very low agreement (2.32, SD = 1.63) in comparison to Site 10 which reported more agreement with the statement (4.85, SD = 1.76). Assessing the data for differences between the sites, perceptions for ‘I have a good level of understanding about where I live and play’, ‘I feel safe where I live and Play’ and ‘I would like to be safer and happier where I live and play’ were statistically significant, suggesting that young people had widely different perceptions on these three aspects, possibly due to local and / or personal circumstances. Skillzone For those young people attending the Skillzone sessions, they were largely enthusiastic and really enjoyed the interactive nature of the sessions. Creating a safe space in which the young people felt confident and comfortable to talk to the project staff created a positive and trusting learning environment. The small group sizes and practical nature of the session helped maintain interest and enthusiasm which was perceived as particularly important considering the ages of participants. The focus on individual choice within the context of personal safety allowed young people to explore the issues in ways that they could relate to which was supported by goal setting. This helped the participants link outcomes to the new knowledge and awareness they developed throughout the project. Children were familiar with the concept of setting goals and the schools were both supportive and positive towards the project overall. Project staff perceived that young people left the project feeling better able to understand safety issues and their own feelings. This was supported by feedback obtained from the young people via the evaluation tools deployed. Possible improvements for future similar projects concerned increasing the amount of lead-in time to support the development of systems and inter-organisational relationships, and improvements in communication between stakeholders involved in the project’s delivery. Greater time and therefore, flexibility, were also highlighted as a potential area to address so as to ensure all participants’ needs are fully met. As supported by the limited feedback from the parent session, opening up the Skillzone opportunities to the entire project cohort would possibly have provided a useful means of reinforcing the learning that had taken place within the school sessions and would serve to demonstrate the uniqueness of the project. Case studies Trauma was a reoccurring issue that arose as a consequence of the sudden loss of a family member and the overall impact of dealing with a disrupted personal, domestic and working lives. Young people were exhibited behavioural challenges including aggression and anger which negatively impacted family life and schooling. For parents there was an underlying sense of fear and anxiety with respect to the influence and involvement of partners and ex-partners in their lives and the lives of their children. Fear and anxiety were also evident with respect to being able to cope without a significant other in terms of dealing with essential day-to-day tasks, such as paying bills, etc. To varying degrees poor mental health was evident across all case studies in terms lack of confidence and being unable to express or articulate emotions. Rapid access to support allowed the participants to benefit from the intervention in a relatively short space of time meaning and facilitated the establishing trusting and communicative relationships. The project’s educational emphasis for example, concerning the criminal justice system (CJS), helped contextualise the wider processes. The immediate outcomes of the project were evident in participants’ abilities to understand, rationalise and accept their situations. This provided a basis on which to plan actions in respect of whatever challenges were being faced, with the support of the project staff and other stakeholder to whom participants were signposted. For young people in particular there were perceived improvements in being able to express feelings and emotions in more constructive ways. Being more informed and aware of oneself and the wider processes taking place helped to provide participants with a set of tools which they could use to help manage themselves and family units more positively. Over time, these aspects were manifest in a feeling of greater resilience, ability to cope and feeling more secure.

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Health, Life Sciences, Sport and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Colin Baker
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2020 09:13
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 09:07

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