This website uses cookies to help us understand the way visitors use our website. We can't identify you with them and we don't share the data with anyone else. If you click Reject we will set a single cookie to remember your preference. Find out more in our privacy policy.

Measured Progress

Realising Ambition may have reached a destination: last weeks’ House of Commons celebration event, but its journey continues.

17 July 2017

Realising Ambition funding to the 22 organisations that have delivered 25 of the best youth crime prevention and early intervention services across the whole of the UK may have come to an end. But they continue. And the programme’s legacy is forged.

Chaired by Catch22’s CEO Chris Wright, invited guests were addressed by Rushanara Ali MP – who talked about the importance of giving young people opportunities to realise their ambition and their potential – and Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund – who spoke of an ambition realised: a new approach to gathering, making sense of and sharing learning – doing and showing as we go; using evidence to improve not just prove; achieving impact.

You can read a summary of Realising Ambition’s learning, in its tenth and penultimate Programme Insight launched at the Commons here. The work of a consortium led by Catch22 in partnership with the Dartington Social Research Unit, the Young Foundation and Substance supporting the portfolio of funded services encapsulated in twenty five key points under 5 over-arching themes:

  • learning about replication and scale;
  • building confidence that services work;
  • building confidence in delivery organisations’ ability to deliver well;
  • understanding and adapting to new and challenging environments; and
  • changing our approach to learning – being generous in sharing what we find and regarding failure as a basis for understanding what works. And why. And for whom. And when.

The event heard young people from Grove Academy in Dundee, who had participated in the Anne Frank Trust’s Schools and Ambassadors Programme, speak about the powerful impact they had experienced in learning, and then teaching other young people, about the damage that hatred and intolerance cause. Children from Grange Primary school in Southwark –year 4, 5 and 6 (8, 9 and 10 year olds!) spoke to the audience before performing their self-choreographed dance piece based on their learning from Barnardo’s Northern Ireland’s Paths Plus programme. Emotionally and socially confident? You bet (and we have the stats to back it up).

And last but not least Kessington Lapido, a mentee turned mentor with Chance UK,  told us about his personal mentored journey from a boy who fought instead of reasoned to that of a young man with direction, and a clear sense of purpose. Kessington reminded us that all young people are entitled to have ambition. And to realise it.

Realising Ambition has contributed. Over 160,000 children and young people in 108 areas of the UK have benefitted from services the programme has funded. Over half of those receiving the most intensive family support services improved their outcomes and almost a quarter remained stable when otherwise they may have been expected to deteriorate. And of those receiving universal school-based prevention programmes within Realising Ambition – 41% improved outcomes and a further 32% remained stable.

And so what is the Realising Ambition legacy? Sixteen of the 25 services funded by Realising Ambition are continuing, having found new investors, new commissioners, new funders. Consequently more young people are to benefit from services which have been tested, refined and adapted to fit the needs of those they serve. The learning from Realising Ambition’s experience has informed over 600 practitioners, policy makers, funders and commissioners in every nation of the UK who have taken part in our Expert Panels, Roundtable Events, seminars and conferences. Friends, colleagues and critics have always been welcome in Realising Ambition and we have kept them up-to-speed through our Programme Insight series and 25 case studies. Still to come are the results of our three Randomised Controlled Trials to be published during late Autumn this year – a significant National Lottery investment in testing home grown prevention services addressing early intervention with families; dating violence; and early intervention mentoring. Read more here.

And our learning about replication, about the importance of the organisation not just the service and using data to improve not ‘prove’ has been captured in one succinct resource, The Confidence Framework, a dynamic tool designed to help sector leaders or individual organisations reflect upon areas of strength and development  to guide service improvement efforts. And fashioned in the spirit of Realising Ambition: freely available; adaptable; creative; useful. It’s yours to use as you see fit… take it, copy the parts that best suit your needs and change what doesn’t… let it help you embark on your own journey to improve even more the outcomes your service, your organisation, helps children and young people achieve…