Unlocking a different future: an independent evaluation of Project Future

Source:
SCIE Social Care Online
Publisher:
Centre for Mental Health
Publication date:
01 January 2017

Abstract

Reports on the findings from a three year evaluation of Project Future, a community-based wellbeing and mental health service young men aged 16-25 with experience of the criminal justice system, specifically those exposed to serious youth violence or involved in gangs. The project aims to improve young people’s mental health and wellbeing, access to services, and education, employment and training opportunities with the long-term aim of reducing marginalisation offending. It draws on the INTEGRATE MODEL where mental health professionals coproduce a service with young people to meet local needs. The evaluation included interviews with young people and community members engaged in the project, outcome monitoring surveys, focus groups, and process of change workshops. A total of 198 young people worked with the project over three years. The evaluation saw a significant improvement in the wellbeing of young people during their contact with the project. The project also enabled young people to access other services, such as health, employment, training, and welfare. Criminal justice stakeholders also reported perceived reduction of offending amongst young people attending the project. Young people also reported the importance of Project Future in providing a safe space, routine, and purpose which helped reduce offending In addition, 18 young people were employed by the project as community consultants, responsible for co-creating the project. Project Future was perceived to be an environment that made young people feel safe, respected, supported and listened to and which enabled young people to see themselves in new ways and access new opportunities.