Reflecting on how projects have worked and looking at the lessons learnt is essential for improving the quality of future work. A range of creative techniques – from ‘cut out and stick’ evaluation notebooks to faciltated meetings – is what makes Pathway’s approach to evaluation unique. We have conducted both small and large scale evaluations – and we show an example of one each here.

Evaluating the Newlands Project

‘Newlands’ was a £59 million Forestry Commission initiative to transform wasteland across the North West into community woodlands. Pathways developed 17 indicators against which we could measure the impact of the Newlands project long term. Using these indicators, over 300 people were interviewed on 11 Newlands sites.

Our team carried out ‘dawn to dusk’ surveys on each site to assess how the sites were used and interviewed local businesses. On each site, 30 local people were invited to attend a facilitated meeting, where we used the Spaceshaper tool to gather more detailed information about the success of each site and benefits it brought to the local area. Around 3000 people were consulted through the whole process.

All of the research information and evidence was compiled and analysed and Pathways created a social indicators report for each for the sites. These reports will serve as the baseline for the repeat evaluation.

Evaluating Boltby Scar with a DIY notebook

This was a first time community archaeological dig on an English Heritage site and North Yorkshire National Park staff we keen to learn if people had valued and enjoyed it and what could improve it if the dig happened again. We created a pictorial notebook, with an aged-look, which was posted out to people with a chocolate bar attached – the idea was to really encourage people to sit down with a cup of coffee and fill it out in no more than 20 minutes.