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Partnership measures value of giving

26 February 2014 @TeessideUni


North Star Housing Group and Teesside University have partnered up for a project that measures the value of giving.

Psychology and Criminology graduate Beth Danby, 22, of Eaglescliffe, Stockton-upon-Tees, has been employed on a sKTP (shorter Knowledge Transfer Partnership) as part of a 10 month project to measure the social value of housing association North Star’s Community Investment activity.

The organisation aims to strengthen their communities through targeted funding and support.

Last year North Star helped fund around 35 projects, including working with children and young people, providing training and work opportunities, community-led housing schemes and education projects.

Thanks to Beth’s work the impact of these activities on the communities they serve will be measured. This means the projects that are of most value can be supported and gaps can be identified in activity that could be supported.

Beth said: 'North Star wanted someone who has studied different research methods to lead the project of evaluating the impact of its work.

'At the moment North Star’s Community Investment activity funds some fantastic projects, but the social value has not previously been measured. That means we’re not able to demonstrate the impact the funding or support we have provided has had.

'I am looking at ways of measuring this impact using a variety of methods including, social return on investment (SROI), social accounts and audit, and in house methods.'

Beth has been supported in the sKTP by regular meetings with Pat Watson, Research Fellow for the School of Health and Social Care, who has helped her with her strategic and academic expertise.

Beth continued: 'The organisation will now conduct an initial interview with upcoming projects to find out their aims, objectives, expected outcomes, who they aim to benefit etc.

'The Community Investment team can use this evaluative information to share with the projects, influence budget decisions and share with North Star stakeholders.

'It will help the team to look at budgets and it’ll help the projects themselves. One of the projects NSHG is currently helping to fund is a three year project, which currently only has funding for the first year. This impact measurement work may help the project apply for further funding, if they can illustrate to funders the social value the project is having.'

North Star Head of Community Investment Sally Thomas said: 'Measuring social impact is a major issue we wanted to tackle and, after finding out about sKTP from another housing association, we decided to go ahead.

'Teesside University worked well in terms of our local identity and the people we spoke to understood very clearly what we needed and responded in a way that we thought was appropriate, relevant and useful.

'The work Beth’s done so far has been really good and to time, budget and cost. We’re at a point now in the project where we knew what the system will look like and we well spend the final few months piloting it to see how it works.

'It’s been great having Beth here as part of the organisation and it is also useful as part of the process to have the academic supervisor supporting her and sharing the latest knowledge and research.'

Geoff Archer, Knowledge Transfer and Commercialisation Manager, said: 'At Teesside University we value the fact that many of our KTPs, and the regional model Knowledge Exchange Internships (funded by ERDF) create jobs and implement innovation within businesses.

'KTPs recruit talented people to spearhead new projects, give businesses access to experts who can help take their business forward and develop innovative solutions to help their business grow.

'The expertise skilled graduates offer, and the support they receive from their academic experts, makes a big impact on businesses.

'It can really help them to increase their competitive advantage to improve their performance and increase profitability.'

In the News

Partnership measures value of giving
The Journal, 26/02/2014, p.31, 4-Traders, web
North Star Housing Group and Teesside University have partnered up for a project that measures the value of giving.