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Evaluate, Review, Repeat

Why understanding the impact of our work is key to the future

At The Ernest Cook Trust, establishing the true impact and evaluation of our activities has become central to our work. With obvious benefits to the effectiveness of our programmes, it also gives considerable weight to our voice when influencing policymakers.

Rosie Tudor, our Policy & Impact Advisor wrote a compelling article on the subject for Horizons Magazine. This quarterly publication shares good practice articles written by Outdoor Learning professionals, for Outdoor Learning professionals.

Speaking about the importance of her work, Rosie says,

With the confluence of crises we now face, it has never felt more important to ensure that we are maximising the societal and planetary impacts of our programmes and assets.

Rosie is keen to point out that evaluation is not just about numbers and surveys. A qualitative approach is also key, using methods such as ‘impact storytelling’:

Stories, unlike facts and logic, use emotion and engage the unconscious, where most decisions are made. They can be very powerful when trying to influence change-makers.

One of the Trust’s strategic programmes, The OWL Collaboration, has already benefitted immensely from this evaluation process. Working with the Outdoor Learning Centres who help deliver the programme’s outdoor weeks of learning, Rosie’s work recognises the value of their different approaches, while working towards the same shared aims,

By working together in this way we hope to optimise Outdoor Learning provision so that it has a longer-lasting impact on children and young people’s lives.

You can read Rosie’s full article here: