Although we are only at the start of our journey with Black Thrive and have a long way to go before we can show impact, there is a plan in place to ensure we are assessing our own efficacy and driving forward with a culture of learning and constant improvement. 

To do this, Black Thrive has appointed an independent evaluator to assess the efficacy of the initiative in achieving its goals and outcomes, and the impact on the wider system and community approach to mental health within black communities.

The objectives of the evaluation are to demonstrate:

  1. What has been achieved? Has Lambeth seen any improvement in specified outcomes for black populations? Are these improvements significant and long-lasting?
  2. Why has change been achieved and where is there limited to no progress and why?
  3. How effective are the processes and model used? What components are critical to its success? How effective has the Collective Impact model been?

Our primary independent evaluation partner is working closely with the Shared Measurement System (SMS) Group, the Evaluation Advisory Committee and the wider Black Thrive community to ensure all evaluation activities are rooted in Black Thrive's learning & improvement needs and are informed by the community.

The importance of community participation in the evaluation programme

For the Lambeth Black Thrive evaluation to be successful and to make sense to the beneficiaries i.e., black people in Lambeth, it must develop in depth insight into the perspectives of these communities as well as that of the individuals and organisations responsible for delivering and configuring health, social care and other services in Lambeth. Furthermore, the beneficiaries should be confident of their role in the evaluation process, so they are not ‘done to.’

Therefore, the Lambeth Black Thrive evaluation will be co-produced. Black people in Lambeth from diverse backgrounds, ages and communities and front-line staff in particular will be active participants in every stage of the evaluation.  Through their participation people will gain insight, skills and confidence in research and evaluation and will co-own the design, the implementation, the analysis, findings and recommendations.

A major part of evaluating Lambeth Black Thrive and its adherence to the Collective Impact approach will be to assess the extent to which a wide cross-section of people from diverse backgrounds were active participants in the initiative and how this affected their outlook and lives. Given the importance of active engaging as many community members as possible, it will be vital for evaluators to work alongside people from Lambeth, particularly those with lived experience of the problems that Lambeth Black Thrive aims to tackle.

People living and using mental health services in Lambeth will be peer researchers in the evaluation. This means that they are able to reflect on their experiences, and the experiences of those close to them, to explore real life issues that affect the culture of mental health and wellbeing for the black community in Lambeth. The peer researchers should be actively involved in all stages of the evaluation as follows:

  • Scoping and design
  • Oversight
  • Delivery
  • Analysis and interpretation
  • Reporting

Available reports

To make a head start on our improvement efforts, Black Thrive commissioned a learning evaluation of its launch phase. Below is a summary of the recommendations that resulted from this three-month process.

  • Practice clear, consistent and effective communication
  • Invest in new roles to support the initiative
  • Invest in shared time
  • Engage, understand and respond to the trauma experienced by the black community
  • Create a skills register of all current participants in Working Groups
  • Pick a prototype project and do it
  • Devise a short induction programme for all new partners
  • Utilise technology to help simplify collective knowledge gathering
  • Grow your own Collective Impact experts

To read the full analysis from Rooted, please click here.