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Formal evaluation of the UP Project published

20 Jul 2022

Today the Violence Reduction Network in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland published its externally commissioned evaluation of the Unlocking Potential (UP) Project, which Leicestershire Cares delivered between October 2019 and March 2022. The evaluation aimed to explore the level of impact achieved by the project and what factors led to these outcomes for young people.

We were delighted to see that the UP Project was highly regarded by young people and referrers alike, and that the evaluation found positive impacts for participants upon a number of risk factors related to offending. A key outcome for young people was a shift in their ‘mindset’ and that they feel much more confident about getting into and staying in work as a result of the UP project.

Key to achieving these outcomes for young people was the quality of support provided and the relationship that the UP Project established with young people. Our multi-agency working was also effective in providing young people with specialist support for issues such as mental health, while enabling our team to focus on employment and training-related support.

The report also highlighted some key learning for us, which we welcome in our aim to constantly review and improve our support for young people. This includes investing in follow-up discussions with young people to capture the longer-term impact of our work, and gathering more consistent data to show progress towards outcomes for participants.

Dr Stevie-Jade Hardy, Evidence and Evaluation Lead for the Violence Reduction Network, said:

The VRN aims to have a demonstrable, positive impact on the risk and protective factors linked to violence and ultimately secure reductions in serious violence. One of the ways that we achieve our aim is to commission and test interventions which we believe will have an impact on serious violence locally such as the Unlocking Potential Project.

"Evaluations like this matter because it helps us to understand how our interventions are being implemented and whether they are effective and cost-efficient. As a partnership, we are committed to sharing learning and to the continual improvement of our interventions, services and strategies to ensure that they’re benefiting those most in need.”

Charlotte Robey-Turner, Head of Children and Young People at Leicestershire Cares, said:

"This report is hugely useful to us as an organisation to pinpoint our strengths and some key learning for our work with young people. It demonstrates that our Power to Change approach is effective in enabling young people to develop the skills, confidence and connections they need to achieve outcomes and progress towards their goals. We are keen to build on this learning and improve our data capture so we can demonstrate even more of the impact we create as an organisation.

I'd like to thank the Violence Reduction Network for selecting the UP Project as one of only two interventions they fund to be evaluated externally. We value their trust in our work and look forward to continuing to work together to address the risk factors of serious violence in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland."

To read the evaluation report in full, visit the VRN website.

Read more about our youth justice work.