A three-year evaluation of the Going the Extra Mile (GEM) project begun in 2016, providing Paul Courtney and the Monitoring and Evaluation team, (which includes University colleagues Leonie Burton and Dr Colin Baker) the opportunity to further develop and apply their social value research techniques, as demonstrated in projects such as the Hulme Community Garden Centre Project.
Funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the National Lottery Community Fund, GEM aims to move the county’s most vulnerable adults closer to employment, training and education. The project involves a consortium of over 50 voluntary community social enterprise (VCSE) and public and private sector partners from across the county. GEM is being managed by the Gloucestershire Gateway Trust and to date has engaged over 1,000 people.
The project has helped many participants achieve their desired outcomes, whether through a working or educational related route, and GEM is evidently generating substantial social value for individuals and communities alike.
Funding was secured for an extension to the project for a further two years, and the project is due to end in December 2021.
Comprising an SROI and outcomes-based assessment of social value together with a process element, the GEM evaluation cycle also features a unique storytelling peer researcher model whereby participants on the programme are gathering stories from each other through a co-produced interview schedule.