Tom Murphy is the Development Manager at Kensington Fields Community Centre in the L7 area of Liverpool, close to the City Centre. I first worked with Tom in 2016 in his previous role, and recently caught up with him to find out how his first experiences of social impact measurement are being adapted during the current crisis.
KFCA is a community anchor organisation in Kensington Fields which has been serving the whole community for over 20 years. It offers a range of support and runs a busy timetable of activities including play schemes, lunch clubs and a local history group. Tom’s role is funded by the Steve Morgan Foundation and will enable KFCA to enter a period of new growth and development.
My role has been funded for 3 years, with the aim of creating a clear plan for the future and really strengthening what we currently do and more importantly where we go next. I wanted social impact measurement to be a key part of that work.
What was your initial experience of measuring impact?
I first put social impact measurement into practice at Sheila Kay Fund (SKF), which is a small grant provider supporting local people to access educational opportunities. When we starting thinking about service realignment, we agreed that it was important for the Trustees to understand the full impact of the grants for the grant recipients and their families. SKF worked with Helen from Social Know How to understand the benefits of social impact measurement, learn how to apply it to the charity and use it to really understand the outcomes & impact for current and previous recipients.
The process of measuring impact enabled us to develop a ‘theory of change’ for our work and highlighted how the provisions of grants had enabled lots of positive changes for people such as increased confidence through improved communication techniques & recognition of existing skills, improved self-awareness, and better mental health. It was great to discover that the grants also had a ripple effect on the recipient’s family, encouraging more people back into education and employment.
The work also acted as an opportunity for the organisation to review the grants programme process making it easier for people to access support, and for SKF to have even more positive impact locally. Four staff are now able to independently build social impact measurement into their professional practice. Overall, it’s been a really positive experience.
What are you doing differently now around impact measurement during the current crisis?
At Kensington Fields Community Association (KFCA) we developed a Covid-19 community support plan to ensure our vulnerable and older neighbours had the support they needed. This meant all regular activities were suspended, and the focus shifted literally overnight to developing and implementing the new services.
In this time of swift change, we felt it was more important than ever for KFCA to be able to demonstrate the impact of our support – in order to secure additional emergency funding and also know that what we were doing was as effective as possible. Drawing on previous experience of working with Social Know How, we developed new tools and processes for KFCA to be able to track the activities, which includes a contact diary used by the volunteers delivering our new tele-befriending service. The contact diaries capture a range of data including topic of discussion, signposting and volunteer hours as well as the benefits for the individuals.
What impact is your organising having at the moment?
We have received a huge influx in new referrals and are supporting over one hundred new households made up of families, pensioners, and vulnerable people. Our geographical area of impact has increased substantially, and we are now supporting people from across the L7 community, stretching across Central, Picton and Kensington & Fairfield LCC wards.
We have been working in partnership with the neighbouring Sacred Heart Primary School and developed new referral pathways with a number of local community organisations including faith groups and social prescribers.
The new services have been having a real impact on reducing loneliness through befriending service, increasing community spirit through partnerships and volunteering opportunities, and as well as the fundamental need to preventing hunger through providing meals and grocery parcels.
How are you intending to maximise your impact into the future?
We are currently working on a ‘return to normal plan’ for KFCA to ensure we can continue to safely support the community. Plans include our new community shop that will offer local people more affordable options for fresh food, and we are exploring how we can potentially use technology to keep in touch with people who are housebound.
Another positive aspect is that we have attracted a new group of volunteers, some of whom have been furloughed during the pandemic, and we really want to continue to work with them in some capacity as they return to work. We will definitely be measuring the impact of this new stream of volunteering at KFCA. We also plan to strengthen the relationship with our local school which has been acting a hub for key workers children, and continue to facilitate joined-up support across the community.
To find out more about KFCA contact Tom on 0151 708 9107 / email@example.com
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