This question is important because:
You are supporting people to make lifestyle changes. Making these changes permanent is very difficult. The emotional support and physical challenges your participants need from you are therefore likely to change over time. You are also likely to discover that some of the assumptions you made during the planning phase about what people need won’t be quite right.
- Check in with people regularly to see how they are feeling and to ask if they need anything different from you.
- Make it easy for people to give you feedback.
- If people miss a session or two, get in touch with them to check they are OK.
- Share ownership of the programme – involve participants and carers in planning and development.
- As people become more active they are likely to need new challenges in order to help them make the next (small) step to becoming even more active. Discuss this with them and agree what might be a good approach.
- Keep an eye on the information you are gathering as part of your project evaluation (including your observations and any ad hoc feedback from volunteers and participants) to see if there are any emerging issues. If you think there are, check out your assumptions with people and make some changes.
- Remember that people are likely to slip back sometimes. This isn’t failure. It just means that you have to adjust and respond to how they are feeling at that time.
Participant snakes & ladders journey diagram
“We were encouraged to adapt projects through learning and monitoring to meet needs of users – often only captured in end of year report, too late to do anything.”
Planned to arrange individual meetings with all referred families. About 20% of families missed their appointments and it could be difficult to contact them to make a new plan. Programme staff realised that some families have very chaotic lifestyles and can’t keep track of appointments easily. Some families also missed their second appointment.
Decided only to ring families a maximum of 2 days in advance of the appointment. They sent confirmation text messages with the appointment details so the family had them written down. They asked families what would work best for them and asked the referrer to help if a home visit was required.
Only 7.5% of families missed their appointments under the new scheme. They managed to arrange a joint visit with a professional to one family which was struggling to come to the venue. The individual meetings in the community required a lot of staff time. They then decided to trial drop-in welcome sessions in local community venues for most families. Individual meetings will now only be offered to families which struggle to manage this.
How can we stay responsive to peoples needs? PDF