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Read how YMCA Barnsley and YMCA Newcastle are using upshot to measure and evidence the impact of their community projects

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The YMCA is the world’s oldest and largest youth charity, with 133 British local branches operating independently in an effort to support young people, with a vision of helping them to belong, contribute and thrive within their communities.

The YMCA takes a ‘youth-minded community approach’, also providing a wide range of community-based activities and services to help meet local needs.

YMCA Barnsley aims to ensure all of their programmes are led by young people, giving a group of young volunteers the responsibility of participating in the development and delivery of activities, allowing them to play a key role in the organisation designed to assist them. YMCA Barnsley’s programmes focus on creating opportunities for participants to develop, both personally and socially, in order to unlock potential. Programmes encourage participants to work towards accreditations, gaining useful skills, and building a portfolio of work and experience.

YMCA Barnsley offers a variety of different after-school clubs and activities for a range of ages and groups, as well as a ‘Young Volunteers’ programme, in which youth volunteers from the community participate in a range of training and developmental experiences to enable them to fulfil the role of supporting the planning and delivery of the children’s youth work programmes and activities, acting as peer mentors.

YMCA Newcastle strive in their mission to provide unconditional support to young people; an independent local charity, it uses all funding and donations to support the youth of the community.

YMCA Newcastle provides support to over 2,500 12-25 year olds annually. They base their work on their beliefs and values of equality; respect; tolerance; openness; integrity and sustainability, with a view to giving young people the opportunities, resources and support they need to achieve their full potential.

YMCA Barnsley and YMCA Newcastle reach a large number of people with their work, with many relying on the support of these organisations. In order to manage their community projects, monitor their impact and evaluate their effectiveness, Upshot’s monitoring and evaluation software solution allows both Barnsley and Newcastle YMCAs to collate data on projects and community activities with ease.

As Andrea Battye, Youth & Community Work Manager at YMCA Barnsley, describes it as "Upshot is a user friendly, effective data management system that assists us to successfully manage, monitor and evidence projects at YMCA Barnsley. It is fairly easy use and we have come to rely heavily on the system and it has replaced a variety of other methods we have used. The Upshot team are friendly, helpful, supportive and always on hand if you need them. They have been able to assist us with streamlining our processes, getting more out of the system and reducing our workload in terms of collating qualitative data."  

Jeff Hurst CEO of YMCA Newcastle said: ”Upshot enables us to quickly, easily and consistently report the reach and impact of our work to our funders and supporters. It also enables us to target our resources effectively and understand better how young people use our services. Our previous system was paper based and Upshot has made a significant difference to our organisation.”

Upshot makes it simple to manage the details of participants of community projects and activities, allowing collection and filtering of data based on various characteristics, from age, to geographical location, to background. Upshot also makes it easy to monitor attendance and participant turnout, as well as making it possible to set user-defined measures of success, against which these projects and activities level of success may be compared. Upshot makes it simple to create reports from the qualitative and quantitative data collated within the system, instantly generating Microsoft Office-compatible report sheets which may be edited by the user. The wealth of information that can be utilised and amalgamated through Upshot allows both Barnsley and Newcastle YMCAs to assess what areas of projects are most and least effective, allowing them to tailor future efforts and improve the efficiency and impact of their organisation’s vital work. 

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