Hartlepool Action Lab: How have we been doing so far?

In September 2016, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation commissioned Red Consultancy to carry out an independent evaluation of the Hartlepool Action Lab.

The consultants talked to people involved in the Hartlepool Action Lab – project team members, event attendees and others – to get feedback on our way of working.

What did they find?

  • Support from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust helped us to make links with people who live and work in Hartlepool.
  • The Hartlepool Action Lab helped to forge good working relationships across its 30 participants.
  • Delivered by Community Solutions, the four-day workshop in June 2016 was intense, action-focused and highly motivational.
  • Short-term, 100-day goals created a sense of urgency towards action.

Which areas could be developed?

  • Participants felt they could have been more informed about what Hartlepool Action Lab involvement would entail over the long-term.
  • The fast pace of the four-day workshop meant there wasn’t time to go over all aspects of project design.
  • While project teams have been effective at setting and achieving their short-term goals, there may be opportunities to better record their social impact.
  • Sustaining momentum over the long-term will be a key challenge, as project teams have achieved a great deal so far.

The Hartlepool Action Lab is about learning from what works, both in terms of projects’ activities and – through this evaluation – our way of working.

We’re delighted to be working towards a second Hartlepool Action Lab in autumn 2017, drawing on the learning from the independent evaluation.

Do you have ideas of how we can work more collaboratively towards a Hartlepool without poverty? Email us at hello@hartlepoolactionlab.org or Tweet us @HartActionLab.

The evaluation is freely available for anybody to download, here: Hartlepool Action Lab – red Consultancy evaluation 2017