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This is a guest blog by RSA Fellows Tom Bliss and Juliet Hammond.

There were some lively discussions at our Evaluation event on July 2nd. Over 50 RSA members and interested local residents joined us to explore how to develop the Incredible Yorkshire projects within Leeds and how to measure outcomes so that we can share our successes.

The RSA Leeds network is already linking with many Leeds groups active in planting and growing food, food education and broader topics around community health and wellbeing. Most notably, Feed Leeds, which is already applying (and measuring) the Incredible Yorkshire philosophy in Leeds to great effect. RSA aims to add value through its own projects as well as mobilising fellows to contribute ideas, time and resources. Tom Bliss, Leeds Network chair would like to hear from RSA fellows and others who are keen to get involved. There are lots of ideas on the table around healthy local food, sustainable schools, mentoring, neighbourhood planning, volunteering, apprenticeships and small business start-ups - and Tom is looking to find individuals or groups willing to champion these, as well to build a network to share ideas, energy and experience.

At the event Javier Stanizola, economist and playwright, shared his experiences measuring Social Return On Investment  in libraries, museums and theatre. He urged us to measure in order to develop our understanding of our achievements rather than to satisfy a potential funder. He discussed the expected and unexpected outcomes of social interventions, and the network effects as the ripples extend throughout communities.

The RSA Leeds network is already linking with many Leeds groups active in planting and growing food, food education and broader topics around community health and wellbeing.

We have just been successful in applying for funding to develop a bespoke model to measure the outcomes of Incredible Yorkshire projects. Its been designed by the RSA Research team together with a team from MIT and they’ll support us in identifying key metrics and network connections.

We’d love to hear from RSA fellows and students who would be interested in helping us to run the model over the next 18 months. We’ll be able to demonstrate real outcomes from our Incredible Yorkshire programs as well as learning a great deal about just how far our impact is spreading. With that evidence of success we can engage other RSA regions to spread the Incredible model nation-wide!

Tom BlissTom Bliss teaches landscape architecture and urban design part time at Leeds Met. He is web and publicity officer for Feed Leeds, project co-ordinator for the Leeds Edible Schools Network and Leeds Edible Campus, and is a trustee of Back to Front. (See www.urbal.tv for details.) He has run the production company turnstone.tv and is also a folk musician and storyteller, and was recently commissioned to create an epic musical.

 

Juliet HammondJuliet Hammond is a leadership consultant, specialising in identifying and measuring business impact resulting from leadership development programs. She is keen to do more of what matters and less of what doesn't.

If you are interested and want anymore information contact Julia Davis Julia.davis@rsa.org.uk

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