In this blog post we talk about what is it like to take part in a SRP evaluation project. D-CaFF was part of the Evaluation of Dementia Friendly Community Services in Bury.
What is D-CaFF?
D-CaFF is an award-winning volunteer run social gathering for people living with dementia, their carers, family and friends. Since starting in 2016 it has become an important part of the Bury dementia friendly activity landscape. D-CaFF also acts a signposting venue for anyone needing assistance with dementia and carer related matters. Attendance is free to all, running costs are covered by fundraising, small grants and private donations.
How did we do the evaluation?
Our approach was flexible to maximise data capture while not being intrusive for participants. We consulted D-CaFF about the type of data collection that would work best for them, to make sure the varying needs and abilities of participants were accommodated, and that we would not take up too much of their time during the sessions.
We collected data through a variety of methods to gain an in-depth understanding of D-CaFF’s activities and impact on participants. These included:
- interviews with activity lead and other volunteers,
- survey with members, and
- observation visits to the sessions, during which we did brief discussion interviews with members, including carers, volunteers and people living with dementia.
The aim of the observation visits was to see first-hand what the sessions were like. This meant the evaluation team attended D-CaFF Christmas party and took part in a chair-based exercise session, which was lots of fun and a first for both of us!
What did we find out?
The evaluation found that members benefitted greatly from attending the group. They described that the activity had brought enjoyment to their lives and provided important opportunities for socialisation and information sharing. Participants had made new friends through the activity and felt a stronger sense of belonging to a community.
So happy when we found the group. I can speak to others without going to the GP. It’s peer support for carers and people with dementia. Everyone goes out smiling – it’s so worthwhile. People get to know each other and make friends for life. (D-CaFF member)
You wouldn’t know in D-CaFF who has dementia. This is important. It is the feel good factor, they enjoy themselves – both carers and people with dementia. The atmosphere is so relaxed and we have different activities. There’s something for everyone. (D-CaFF volunteer)
What was the evaluation like for D-CaFF?
We were delighted to hear that our approach worked well for D-CaFF , as the lead volunteer describes:
It was a very pleasant experience working with Heidi and Emma and the whole process was unintrusive from start to finish. Our members commented on how well the ladies fitted in and how approachable they were. I personally loved the way they both participated in the activities during each visit and were therefore able to witness the joy experienced by our members firsthand. More importantly the ladies were able to grasp and understand the concept of what D-CaFF is all about! (Joani, D-CaFF Leader)
For more information about how we conduct evaluations, our evaluation findings or to discuss your organisation’s evaluation needs, contact us.