A collaborative approach to monitoring and evaluation: how GOGA is leading the way

Since its inception in 2016, Wavehill have been working with Activity Alliance to evaluate and demonstrate the social and economic impacts of Get Out Get Active (GOGA) a national programme that brings disabled and non-disabled people together to become more active. The programme looks to engage the least active communities in fun and inclusive ways. It provides opportunities for disabled and non-disabled people to be active together; improving physical and mental wellbeing and strengthen communities. As a result, the programme also tackles social isolation for many vulnerable people across the UK. Initially funded by Spirit of 2012, the programme is now in its second phase, working across 21 local authority areas across the UK, having successfully confirmed additional funding from the London Marathon Charitable Trust and Sport England in March 2020. Working in partnership with funders, stakeholders, delivery partners and programme beneficiaries, Wavehill have developed a deep understanding of the programme on both a national and local level. This unique local and national perspective provides important context and deeper understanding to local projects in its delivery locations as well as greater insight and understanding to the overall programme evaluation process. Working in collaboration with the GOGA programme team, Wavehill has taken a different approach to monitoring the outcomes of this programme to better evaluate and feedback as the programme progresses. It uses a mixed method approach involving extensive engagement and regular feedback across the programme delivery, instead of providing feedback at the end of the programme. This has enabled all stakeholders to learn and share insights that continue to improve all aspects of the programme (enabling ‘in-flight’ changes), from a local and national perspective. This in turn has led to a deeper understanding of the positive impacts that the programme continues to have, whilst providing timely insights that have also supported funding applications for the second phase of the programme. This feedback loop is a cornerstone of the programme’s success and evidenced at the recent GOGA Conference. Here a number of resources were launched focused on who, what, where and why this programme is important. These resources (including practical tips and examples of how to deliver the ‘GOGA Approach’) and shared learnings are intended to support stakeholders looking to become more active within their communities through a more collaborative approach and were developed from Wavehill’s summative evaluation report from GOGA Phase one and reimagined by GOGA to support the next phase of the programme. Feedback to project stakeholders from Wavehill’s evaluation is structured to share ongoing learning on key emerging issues that support delivery and partnership building by localities. These reports highlight the wider ‘ripple effect’ that partners within, and beyond, the GOGA network have on programme delivery for the inactive across the UK. GOGA Phase 1 demonstrated many positive impacts on physical activity through the approach it adopted with: 59% of GOGA participants stated that 6-9 months after starting on a GOGA project they were doing 20 minutes or more physical activity on average per day, this reaches 65% 15 months after GOGA participation. Disabled GOGA participants showed increased physical activity levels. 50% of disabled people stated they were inactive at the beginning of the programme, this dropped down to 15%, 15 months after GOGA participation. The least active participants strongly associate their GOGA ‘experience’ with an increase in their physical activity levels. 69% say they have become more active, and that for this group, over nine out of ten (91%) attribute this to their GOGA experience. Furthermore the increased engagement in physical activity bring other wellbeing benefits that are noted by the UK Government as being critical in wider local community level health improvements. GOGA Phase 1 evaluation findings also showed that: For the least active, there are statistically significant increases in the average rating of life satisfaction and whether participants believe their life to be worthwhile following participation in the GOGA programme. Happiness has also risen following GOGA participation and the mean average anxiety score (out of 10) has fallen. Those with disabilities also demonstrate similar positive trends in their own sense of wellbeing. The results of this programme and the ongoing approach, continue to hold relevance given the focus the government set out in its Covid-19 Mental Health and Wellbeing Recovery Action Plan announced in April 2021. In a post-Covid recovery, programmes such as GOGA are ever more important in supporting vulnerable, disabled, and non-disabled adults. Building on GOGA’s strong foundation, the second phase of this programme is already having a strong positive impact locally and nationally. Wavehill and Active Alliance’s ongoing collaborative approach continues to uncover new insights from its monitoring and evaluation methods allowing the programme to go from strength to strength in its ability to deliver positive outcomes for inactive disabled and non-disabled people across the UK. Simon Tanner, Project Manager for the GOGA evaluation identified: “As evaluation partners, Wavehill are proud to be such close and valued member of this ambitious programme. Combining the nuance of local learning with oversight of the national programme has enabled greater insights and shared learning for clients, stakeholders, project partners and funders across the UK. The ongoing feedback loop continues to help the programme improve and evolve to support the inactive across the UK. It’s challenged our evaluation team to think hard about how we present findings in the most useful way, so those delivering the programme can utilise them as easily as possible. It’s been great learning for us, and we look forward to further refining our approach as GOGA Phase 2 continues.” For more information please contact Simon Tanner

A collaborative approach to monitoring and evaluation: how GOGA is leading the way

Working closely with GOGA to evaluate and demonstrate the social and economic project impacts, we reflect upon this successful collaboration