We carried out a qualitative evaluation of the Lifeworks project for Aberlour. We used a mixed-method realistic evaluation approach drawing on a wide range of perspectives and information.
This small-scale study illustrated 'relationships' as an essential component within the Lifeworks model which helps achieve meaningful outcomes for the young people whose needs are met by the service.
The interpersonal approach delivered by the service was a key motivator for engagement with young people, staff and partner agencies. Lifeworks serves a group of young people for whom there is a dearth of formal supports. The evaluation highlights the need for the service to be sustained and for similar approaches to be replicated elsewhere. The flexible, responsive approach has emerged as a successful element of the service model. Forming a secure relationship with a trusted adult leads to secondary outcomes such as engagement with other services, and lays the foundations for attainment in education, employment etc. However, capturing the impact of these less tangible elements and 'softer' outcomes remains a challenge within this complex and evolving service. It is hoped that this evaluation is the first step in addressing these nuances through future in-house methods in the long term.
The report describes the findings in more detail, with reflections on outcomes and key messages learned from the Lifeworks initiative.