The National Trust’s pilot Green Academies project engaged with over 10,000 young people to develop their skills and connection to nature. We evaluated how well the scheme had delivered on the Trust’s goals, from the perspective of the people involved.
Between 2016 and 2019, the National Trust’s pilot Green Academies Project engaged with over 10,000 young people to develop their connection to nature and provide them with skills to protect their natural environment.
Organised around six Trust sites in England and Wales – all of which border areas of deprivation – the projects were delivered with under-represented young people aged 11-24 in partnership with local schools, social enterprises and youth groups.
Some young volunteers were involved for a one-day interaction. Others made a lasting commitment of several months working, for example, to establish community gardens in their local area.
MHM’s role was to evaluate the scheme’s success from the perspectives of the young people involved, the Trust’s staff and community partners, and to determine to what extent it delivered on the Trust’s aims.
The Green Academies Project had four primary aims:
Our evaluation framework and methodology had to give the many different stakeholders an authentic voice in the feedback. We also needed to distil that feedback into a coherent and accurate narrative to guide the scheme’s long-term future.
MHM used its strategy tree model to design a vision-led, outcome-orientated evaluation framework.
From this we produced a methodology matrix, tailored to the needs of the participants, which enabled us to measure all desired outcomes as performance indicators in the evaluation.
We discovered the scheme exceeded many of its aims:
The Trust needed to understand the Green Academies Project’s critical success factors to take into future projects. We asked partners, participants and staff why the project had worked as well as it did. They told us:
In late 2020 the National Trust identified 15 ‘hub’ properties to be their focus for inclusive best practice in engaging children and young people.
The hubs will work together as a network in support of their Everyone Welcome commitment to making long-term and deep organisation-wide change to become a Trust that is more inclusive and welcoming for all.
All six GAP properties are included as children and young people hubs – due in part to the evidenced impact of their delivery through this programme.
Three of the properties have secured additional funding to continue delivering GAP-influenced community engagement, with the opportunity to share and positively influence the inclusive practice of GAP through the wider network of hubs and beyond.
Photo credits: National Trust
Local resident, Morden Hall Park