A new social impact report from Gauge NI has revealed that for every £1 invested in Supporting Communities, £8 of social value is generated.
New research shows what a substantial impact that community-led housing services can have on the health, confidence, pride and general well-being of the people involved. The report shows significant positive effects for Northern Ireland including improved physical and social environments, well-being of community members, and more stable housing in more cohesive communities.
Gauge NI, a specialist in measuring and evaluating the social impact of organisations, has carried out a detailed evaluation of the work of local charity Supporting Communities to find out just how much of a difference they are making for communities and other stakeholders. They have concluded that the services Supporting Communities provided during one year will generate an amazing total social value of approximately £119 million over the next 5 years. This figure represents the real benefits received by charity’s stakeholders including, local communities, groups, individual group members, digital trainees, and the Housing Executive and Inter-Agency partners.
The report goes on to state that the value to funders, such as the Housing Executive, DSD and others, lies in the vast network of community groups and the links and relationships that Supporting Communities has built all across Northern Ireland. For statutory agencies, working with Supporting Communities is an efficient and cost-effective way to deliver training and engage in consultation with communities.
Importantly, the report showed that the most statistically significant findings related to the impact on local communities themselves. Those who had engaged with Supporting Communities reported an improvement in their local physical environment, an improved sense of belonging to the community, and an improved social environment where they live.
Community representatives told the researchers:
“With Supporting Communities’ help, we have been able to organise environmental schemes including clean-ups to help with the look of the estate. People have come up to me and said that they love living here now.”
"They've helped us to access funding to put in a playpark. It means a better quality of life."
"Being able to take part in the Social Housing Reform Programme consultation put us in a better position to question things which affect us."
Proving the Value
Impact measurement allows charities to show they are responsible to the public and to the communities they exist to serve. Colm McDaid, Chief Executive of Supporting Communities commented, “It is our mission to deliver high quality, independent, professional support to the communities and agencies with which we engage. It is important to us that we are open and accountable to our stakeholders and having a significant impact on those we work with. To make sure we are doing this we wanted to carry out an independent evaluation of our work which is why we decided to commission a social impact report”.
He continued, “We were delighted with the finding that for every £1 we invest in our work, £8 social value is generated. This figure translates to a real difference taking place in these communities, allowing people to feel more at home in their own area, having their voice heard, and learning new skills.”
Speaking about the methods used in the report, Gauge NI’s Business Development Manager Stephen McGarry said, “A Social Return on Investment (SROI) evaluation allows clients to understand the social value of their work. Analysing the project data from Supporting Communities as well as speaking to the people involved allowed us to see what impact their work has had.”
“By calculating in financial terms the total value of benefits produced against the cost of the investment, the final SROI ratio communicates at a glance the net value of a project. Our evaluation of Supporting Communities shows they are creating significant social value for their members and in the communities that they work in.”