Evaluation report of Society Inc.

Peach, DM ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1010-4802 2020, Evaluation report of Society Inc. , Project Report, University of Salford, Salford. UK.

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Executive Summary People and relationships are central to what constitutes Society Inc. Their model is founded on three broad aims, social inclusion, empowerment and support. This evaluation report demonstrates how Society Inc. enables local people to use and develop their skills and knowledge to support others within their community. Their model is rooted in the belief that every person is of value to their community. Adopting a person-centred approach is not uncommon. However, it is how Society Inc. practice what they preach, which ensures their clients, volunteers and staff, reliably experience being valued as a person. The charity’s outcomes are embodied in the experience of social inclusion and belongingness. Accordingly, the development of this evaluation has been inductive, to allow that experience to emerge. The information shared in this report is based on interviews with clients, their family members, volunteers and staff. In the process of conducting interviews, I attended the charity’s base in Little Hulton and observed interactions. I have been privileged to hear personal experiences and trusted to hold a shared understanding of ‘knowing’ how Society Inc. is experienced, and why that is of value. Society Inc. is a charitable incorporated organisation that supports volunteers to provide mentoring and befriending services to people in their communities. It is based in the Little Hulton area of Salford and operates across Greater Manchester. In the relatively short time, Society Inc. has been operating it has become a point of referral for several organisations, including Salford Royal Hospital and Prescott House Mental Health Unit. The charity often receives referrals to assist individuals who are already in receipt of a professional service. Engagement with Society Inc. provides the community-based support to actively assist people in the process of addressing their complex needs. Without undermining their personal touch, professionalism is at the heart of all Society Inc. practices. Notably, to support their staff and volunteers they deliver an accredited training scheme and facilitate reliable supervision and safeguarding procedures. All interviewees reflect a sense of pride in their participation with, and knowledge of Society Inc. An emergent theme was about being local, but this was not simply a matter of location. For example, one client described other services such as Sure Start as procedural rather than helpful; there was a sense of feeling ‘othered’, that created anxiety. Closer analysis suggests that engagement with Society Inc. is experienced as the acceptance of a person’s vulnerability, without judgement. That concept is the foundation of trust. Additionally, the authentic discourses from staff and volunteers embraced language, which was often nonprofessionalised and indicative of their approach to inclusion as one that (Final) Evaluation of Society Inc. 5 engenders equality. That is of crucial importance when reducing barriers to inclusion experienced by those who live in areas of multiple deprivations, such as Little Hulton. It is within a landscape of decades of economic, social, health and education inequality, that Society Inc. practices The volunteers who provide mentoring and befriending services are the conduit between Society Inc. as an organisation, and those who engage with its services. Indeed, some who approach the charity with a view of receiving support might soon discover the support they need could be in the form of becoming a mentor or befriender to someone else. Two people who started as volunteers are now employed by the charity, through its ability to attract funding. Society Inc. runs on a financial shoestring, yet it is able to provide a service and nurture ambition within the community that for many, is worth its weight in gold. Reducing social isolation is a foundational Society Inc. activity. Volunteers seek to encourage their clients to safely experience the world around them, as a means to disrupt feelings of loneliness and to nurture a greater sense of self-efficacy, belongingness and enjoyment. This active approach supports clients to go beyond pre-contemplation to active engagement with change. The trusted relationships facilitated by Society Inc. and experienced within their social network of support was implicit in all participant interviews. Particularly striking, was the belief that Society Inc. could be trusted to continue to be available to meet the future needs of people who require their services. That sense of permanence indicates a perception of strength in the social network they have created, which extends beyond the individuals who are current volunteers. Society Inc. has responded effectively to the changing needs of its clients and volunteers during the Covid19 pandemic and associated social restrictions. They quickly adapted to further develop their networking activities with other local organisations. This was important, as the government imposed social distancing measures can inhibit people from seeking support. Impressively, Society Inc. was proactive in developing communication links with other charities and services to streamline delivery and ensure they were not duplicating their activities. They adapted their usual community-based support systems to telephone communications. Recognising that some people’s mental well-being required the ability to see and talk to someone, they conducted some social distancing visits at the garden gate. In addition to these strategies, the staff have been mobilised to respond to those members of the community in urgent need of food. A constant throughout the evaluation process was the importance of highlighting the value of those who are receiving and delivering Society Inc. services. That foundational premise remained consistent, especially during this time of critical and acute need

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Applied Research in Health, Welfare and Policy
Publisher: University of Salford
Related URLs:
Funders: Society Inc
Depositing User: DM Peach
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2020 08:11
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 11:46
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/58097

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