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Listening Fund Evaluation

The Centre for Youth Impact is excited to be undertaking an evaluation of the Listening Fund for both England and Scotland.

What we do

The Listening Fund supports youth-focussed organisations to better listen to young people and to respond to what they hear. The objective is to advance the ability of the youth sector to listen the views and voices of young people, enabling them to have a greater say in shaping the services they receive.

The Listening Fund England ran from March 2018 - 2020, supported by the Blagrave Trust, Comic Relief, The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, and the National Community Lottery Fund. The Fund supported 22 youth organisations, each receiving between £10,000-£20,000 p.a. over two years.
The evaluation for the England cohort is now complete. More detail about the evaluation findings can be found in the full learning report, and in the accompanying case study report that takes an in-depth look at six partners’ projects. We have also written a series of blogs highlighting some of the key learning outcomes: Enablers and barriers; creating the partner self-assessment; reflecting on fund design; and listening during COVID-19.

The Listening Fund Scotland runs from March 2019 - 2021, and it is supported by the National Lottery Community Fund, the Corra Foundation, Comic Relief, the Gannochy Trust, and the William Grant Foundation. The fund supports 11 youth organisations for two years.  The interim learning report for the Fund in Scotland can be found here

​Aims of the evaluation

The evaluation aims to understand and assess the impact of the Listening Fund on the practice of the organisations in receipt of funding, whilst also making a broader contribution to the evidence base around organisational listening. The central research question for the evaluation is: what is the impact of dedicated funder support on organisational listening practice?
The evaluation seeks to improve and deepen learning about various aspects of organisational listening practice, including: the design and mechanics of listening, how to gather feedback from diverse communities, making sense of feedback, and closing the feedback loop. These learning points will not only offer insights for the youth charities and funders which are directly involved in the Fund, but will be shared much more widely across the youth sector.

​A mixed methods approach

The evaluation for both the Listening Fund England and the Listening Fund Scotland adopt a mixed method approach – drawing on light touch quantitative methods across all partners, and more in-depth qualitative methods for a subsection of partners. The methods include a partner self-assessment tool (via online surveys), telephone interviews, the collection of systematic feedback directly from young people, and in-depth organisational case studies (incorporating one-to-one interviews and deliberative workshops).
The emphasis is on building shared approaches with partners, developing evaluation tools that reflect ‘low stakes accountability’ for partners, but which also generate meaningful and actionable insights. We are particularly proud of our self-assessment survey, which, beyond the Fund evaluation, we see as a useful diagnostic tool for organisations to understand where they are at in terms of their own listening practices. We would welcome the uptake of this tool to support ongoing internal evaluation processes, and it is available for public use here.

The listening feedback survey for young people is also publicly available to use here. it is designed to be light-touch and anonymous, and to enable organisations to gain systematic feedback from young people on their experiences of organisational listening.

Evaluation outputs

The outputs for both the evaluations will include:

  • Interim report;
  • Organisational case study reports (four reports for the Listening Fund England, two reports for the Listening Fund Scotland); and
  • Final report.

As a result of the evaluation, all of the partners involved in the fund will be better equipped to define and evaluate their listening practice. Additionally, the wider youth sector and its funders will have an enhanced understanding of how to embed good listening practice into their work, with greater knowledge of the enablers and barriers to meaningful practice when responding to young people.

Further Information

Further information about the Listening Fund England and Scotland can be found on the project website, including details of partner organisations, announcements, and blogs.

In addition to this evaluation, the Listening Fund in England worked with Real Insight to offer training and support to project partners. This training was delivered to the cohort as seven Learning Sets which form part of a framework aimed to improve partners’ service-user participation. More information on the content of the framework, including learnings from partners and recommendations, can be found here.

​Alternatively, if you have any questions about the evaluation, please get in touch with Jo Hickman Dunne .