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Reflections on creating the Catch22 Social Impact Review 2023

Four members of Catch22 staff wearing Catch22-branded t-shirts gather around a booth, arranging materials and preparing to welcome guests to the Catch22 Justice Conference.

Catch22’s Social Impact Review is published this Friday, encapsulating the last 12 months of activity and impact from across the organisation. In this blog, Director of External Affairs and Partnerships, Melissa Milner, reflects on the challenges – and rewards – of pulling it all together.

Putting together Catch22’s Social Impact Review can sometimes feel like a daunting task. With over 100 services and programmes, attempting to capture the breadth and depth of our work over the past 12 months in a (relatively) succinct way presents a challenge – and raises a number of obvious questions:

  • How should it be structured?
  • Where is the relevant data?
  • What services and programmes should be highlighted?

But perhaps before all those questions, comes the most fundamental one – what is the purpose of the review and who is it for?

Defining its purpose

Of course, there is a Charity Commission-driven purpose to putting together an annual review: to paint a clear picture of Catch22’s activities and financial position. But, we took the decision a couple of year’s ago to create a separate Social Impact Review that talks less about financials and focuses more on impact.

We therefore wanted this review to do a number of things, such as to:

  • give a flavour of the wide range of work that Catch22 has delivered over the last year,
  • demonstrate that this has had a positive – and often transformative – effect on people’s lives,
  • recognise and celebrate the commitment and talent of our staff, and
  • highlight to those organisations that support, fund, and work with us that together we can make a lasting difference to how public services are delivered.

It’s unrealistic to expect someone to read the review from cover to cover, so the intention is that it can be something people can dip into and glean information from. We want people to feel inspired, heartened, and excited about not only what we do at Catch22 and but also how we do it.

Celebrating our people

The people who use our services, the people who deliver our services, the people who refer into our services, and the organisations that fund our services, are vital to everything we do. This Social Impact Review provides an opportunity to recognise the role all of these groups play in shaping our day-to-day work.

The review is packed with the impact of our caseworkers who support children who are being exploited through County Lines activity or other forms of exploitation; our career coaches who build the skills and confidence in people who are facing barriers work and help them into meaningful jobs, and of our teachers who inspire and engage children who have been excluded from mainstream education – to name just a few. Seeing the cumulative impact of their work is nothing short of inspiring and it deserves to be captured and shared.

It is also an opportunity to showcase the resilience and aspiration of the people who use our services: to celebrate their achievements and share their successes.

And, it allows us to publicly thank those organisations who make our work possible: our commissioners, funders, and other partners who trust us to deliver, and challenge us to improve and innovate.

Order, order!

Rather than organise the content the review by our areas of service delivery, we instead opted to structure it month-by- month. The intention was to show the interconnectivity between our programmes and services, as well as the variety of activity that takes place in any given period.

This structure also allows us to properly reflect the other work that’s going on across the organisation, such as policy development and influencing, the steps we are taking to become a more sustainable business, and the efforts we are going to to improve our employee experience.

Up front, we felt it important to capture some key statistics. The total people we’ve supported over the last year stands at over 140,000, which in itself is a considerable number. But beneath that headline, there are some figures that really show the depth of impact being delivered:

  • 92% of those using our young people and families services report their mental health has improved.
  • At Victim First, 100% of victims reported improved or sustained health and wellbeing after our support.
  • Within our Lifeskills service, 98% of service users reported a positive shift.
  • 64% of our employability programme participants are still in employment at least 26 weeks after being supported into work our training.
  • 91% of all college students would recommend us to a friend.
  • 80% of our school students went on to positive destinations.

Until next year…

For many colleagues who work tirelessly day after day to support others, it’s very easy to not realise that what they do is often life-changing. I hope in some way this teview serves as a reminder that what they do is nothing short of extraordinary.

While we work in specific hubs,  in different locations and our skill sets may vary, our collective impact is huge. And the driving force – to ensure everyone has good people around them, a safe place to live and a purpose in life – remains constant.

Now, let’s see what 2024 brings!

– Melissa Milner, Director of External Affairs and Partnerships