Whilst what we are trying to do with Link Up is very simple, the logic behind why we are doing it is complex. The ‘problem’ tree diagram attempts to capture the problems Inspiring Scotland is looking to unravel with the Link Up programme. It is a work in progress and will be added to and refined as the programme develops, supported by an advisory group and literature review.
In brief it shows that despite large levels of investment, problems for some communities in Scotland have not shifted. People are struggling to create sustainable livelihoods for themselves and social inequality is widening. People in vulnerable communities can be less resilient to shocks and stresses and individuals’ expectations of what they are able to do and achieve can be low.
The ‘outputs’ or ‘activities’ of the Link Up programme in each area haven’t been decided in advance. Instead Link Up workers are facilitating action from ideas that come from the community. We want to build on existing interests, assets and strengths and support local people to be involved in delivery.
Without knowing in advance what the community will choose to do, it is difficult to pre-determine longer-term outcomes. We want to understand what actions and initiatives result in positive outcomes or change however, so based on our background research we have come up with up a broad set of outcomes for individuals that we expect to see as a result of people participating and being better connected. These include:
- Increased social connections, networks and relationships
- Increased activity and opportunities
Medium – long term:
- Increased self-confidence and esteem
- Increased health and well-being
- Improved relationships
- Reduced isolation
- Increased personal resilience
We are also going to look at what impact Link Up activities have on the local community over time – we think we can expect indicators of outcomes such as:
- Increased community activity
Medium – long term:
- Improved community integration
- More active & involved communities
- More resilient communities
Finally, we feel confident that other longer-term outcomes will emerge. We will track what happens in each different community and look at how increased community activity and opportunities for people to form relationships impacts on the readiness of communities to address issues that are important to them.