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The Fife Regeneration, Health and Wellbeing Study

Finding out more about the health and wellbeing of the people of Fife

Evaluation December 2007

This report, reflecting on the work undertaken in 2007, is based on facilitated sessions with our participants, both local people and local workers.

A big thank you once again to all our participants for their contributions through 2007.

We asked participants their views on being part of the study; we report back on their views in the following 7 sections.

People like feeling they are being listened to by decision makers. People feel that sharing personal experiences can inform thinking and decision making. People believe that by participating they are shifting perceptions of them and their community.

  • I liked being asked about what I want as a young person, because we are seen as chavs or neds and not all people are like that.
  • I like talking, I’m a bit of a storyteller, especially if it’s helping Fife NHS and Fife Council to understand people who have mental health problems.
  • I like to think what I feel or say matters.
  • Thank god somebody’s listening to us about the area, anything to help improve the area.
  • That’s the reason I joined, so I could tell people exactly how things are, and it’s real people that are getting to say.
  • People are actually listening to me, listening to how I feel.
  • It’s nice to know I can be involved and what I say is important. It has kept my mind going. It’s good that it’s a joint project and that they want to know what local people think.
  • It makes me feel as if my opinions matter. Also getting involved – in a way it’s like volunteering, helping out.
  • I have the feeling something will get done about this.
  • It’s giving me the chance to put my views over, about what needs changed in Fife.
  • I like the fact it can make a difference in the future. I just get annoyed when all these top nobs make decisions for the community instead of asking the community 

People want to do something to benefit the community; getting involved helps them to do this

  • What I liked is that they are wanting to clean up the country, derelict buildings and things like that. We’re doing something to benefit the community.
  • I got the feeling of being involved in something worthwhile. It’s a worthwhile study so long as it’s not been for nothing.
  • It makes you feel appreciated, the fact you can change things for other people.

People enjoyed the approach, the tools and how they supported conversation

  • I have never took part in anything like this before and I’ve really liked it. I like the way the local worker explained things; it made it easier to understand. I like the layout and how the sessions have been taking place.
  • You made it so it wasn’t too hard, you made it visually entertaining, it made you feel more relaxed, more comfortable and more fun than a form - if you get a form in front of you your mind goes blank.
  • It was fun and interesting.
  • I was very interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed participating in it. I liked going out and about with the camera.
  • I enjoyed filling in the questionnaires. They were interesting, for example the one about the environment. 
  • The session when I took photos. It was nice to get out in the community and to see what the park was like – I hadn’t been for a while.
  • It was a friendly atmosphere, relaxed.
  • Going out to do the pictures was good, it was good to go for a walk, it gives you a different view of things – you see more potential.
  • It made us think about good times we’ve had. And I liked the session when we were out and about.
  • I liked going to different places to take the photos and then cutting them out.
  • It’s like talking to a CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse), I like talking to people, I feel at ease and I don’t feel pressured

The format allows for people who lack confidence, to use other forums to have their say.

  • My opinions of things were actually getting heard by someone without being too confrontational. If you go to meetings like community meetings or housing association meetings you have to stand up and tell them what you think but I’m not that confident.

Relationships between the local pairs – local person and local worker - have grown

  • I like the contact I have had with the worker and all the different things we have discussed.
  • Me and (the worker) have got to know each other better, I’ve made a friend.

People liked to find out what other contributors had said; and benefited from knowing their views were often shared by others

  • You got to know what other people were thinking, as well as the local worker.
  • It’s good fun to find what I said on the posters, and to see what others said.
  • It’s good knowing it’s not just you thinking these things.
  • I benefited from seeing the feedback from other people, knowing it’s no just me. It’s no just me, outside influences are out of my control.
  • It has made me realise that many different people have many different worries and also have similar worries.
  • I like the posters because you get to see what other people think, to see if they have the same views.

The study helped some people be more aware of issues in Fife; and shifted perceptions about their own community

  • It has raised my awareness about lots of local issues. It’s nice to help.
  • I have gained a better perspective of the people and area I live in.
  • It’s helped me realise that it’s not just young people that are wanting to be helped and have realised what Fife is really like. And that there are people willing to help.
  • It’s made me think about environmental health.
  • It makes you look deeper into what’s going on in the community, it makes you more aware.
  • The sessions have definitely helped me think about Fife, I’d like to be more positive about it, I’d like to learn to help in Fife, to make things positive again.
  • It made me think there needs to be more services, like mental health services.
  • It has made me think about my community more.
  • It’s made me think more about the local community. What the local issues are and how it affects people.
  • It makes me feel that the more people that know about mental health problems the better because there is a stigma about mental health problems, there is a fear about it. I feel like I’m educating people.
  • Before I used to think about my own street, my own bit of the country, now I look around at what can be done in other villages. I feel I’ve helped to get things moving, to brighten up the district.
  • It’s really made me realise how bad the neighbourhood is.
  • I’ve got a better understanding of the Fife community.
  • I should look after the community a bit more - not to litter and to help people if they are needing a hand and not to be selfish.

People liked talking about themselves, having some ‘me’ time and looking at aspects of life from a different perspective

  • It was good because you got to talk about your home life.
  • It was some time out for me, away from the kids. We had a good laugh.
  • I enjoyed having ‘me’ time, to say how I feel about things.
  • The best thing is getting it all out, it’s your life, your neighbourhood.
  • It was a good experience as you get out how you feel.
  • I liked telling you things about myself, sharing my experience and telling you how I felt about different things.
  • It helps you open up a bit. It really makes your mind work, not the sort of thing you think about every day. Like the money session, you think about money every day but not in that way – it’s from a different perspective.

People report increased self confidence and a more positive view. They are more likely to get involved and have their say again.

  • I’ve started to get more confidence in myself.
  • I’ve become a better guardian by doing this – when I did the path (‘Journey’ session) – that’s when I decided to be a foster carer for my nephew. It helped my self-esteem and helped me fight for my rights – the social worker wanted my nephew adopted out, but I didn’t and in the end I got parental custody.
  • I’ve gained a lot more confidence, confidence in voicing my opinion.
  • It was helpful to speak out how I feel.
  • I’ve gained a better outlook.
  • I didn’t think I could talk so much and have so much input to give which made me feel happy that I could contribute. 
  • I’d feel more confident about taking part in something like this again.

Finding time to meet up could be difficult; especially if there are other demands

  • It’s been difficult because there’s been personal matters, so we missed some sessions.

It could be hard finding enough time to do a session

  • An hour wasn’t enough time; we would have liked to expand it

Some found certain questions or themes or phrasing of questions difficult

  • Some questions were a bit difficult because of the way they were worded.           
  • The employability session, I found some of the questions difficult on that one.
  • The health questions, because I had to visualise in being that person.
  • The financial topic was difficult, sometimes the questions were too similar.
  • The employment one was really really difficult, the questions were hard to understand.
  • Some questions are quite hard to answer, the worker helped by breaking them down a bit. The visuals are good, it aided us.
  • A lot of the time some of the questions were repetitive – it would be good if questions were more specific.
  • Make the questions more to the point and have group sessions.
  • The finance one felt a bit uncomfortable, but in general no there wasn’t anything I didn’t like.
  • When out (with the camera) in Leven I saw many changes – not for the best – some places in the area are a mess. But I didn’t find anything difficult to do.

Most local people hadn’t looked at the website, so the visual feedback material is important

  • I would like to see more sent out on the project (feedback) as not a lot of people have seen the website.

Although everybody gets the visual report back – usually in the form of a poster - only 1 in 10 of local people report having seen the website and so access to the full web-based text reports has been limited.

Several people said that accessing a computer was a problem, and most workers hadn’t looked at the website with the local person.

  • No, I don’t have access to a computer.
  • I’ve not seen it yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing it.

Workers got to know their local person better

  • I enjoyed engaging with a local person I already knew well, and discovering new aspects to her life and thoughts and abilities, and the knowledge that she enjoyed feeling she could hopefully make a difference to her life and her community.
  • I liked building up a good rapport with the client, building up a closer relationship.
  • I have enjoyed participating in the project this year – I particularly enjoy visiting the local person in their own environment.
  • I liked being with (the local person), building a friendship, time to really get to know someone.
  • I got to know the person better, about her life and family. She had a lot of interesting stories about the past – about how different the community used to be. 
  • I got to know participants better.
  • I enjoyed getting to know the young person better; it was good to get the opinion of how young people see things.
  • I liked being able to spend time with a local person, giving her time and an opportunity to talk about her opinions and thoughts.
  • It’s helped our relationship, and given the opportunity for her to get to know me a bit as well.
  • Because I don’t get to see (the local person) that much now, it’s been good to fill in the gaps in her life, to see how much she’s developed.

Workers recognise the benefits of participation to the local person; particularly in terms of confidence and a sense that their views matter

  • I’ve seen a huge leap in confidence in my local person during the course of the study.
  • It’s been a good process for her to go through. It’s been good for her to see that what she says counts – we find her quotes on the website and print them out.
  • The sessions have helped (the local person) think about where she has started from and where she is at present and what is in store for her future. This has aided her in so far as being used as a person-centred plan – to move forward with her life. I think she has had to reflect on her life and what she is going to do in the future and has identified areas of where she would like help and support, but also has identified where she does not need the support.

Workers found out more about the local area they work in

  • I learned more about the local area.
  • I feel the topics have been relevant to the local community; I live locally myself and do take an interest in what is going on.
  • It was an interesting project and gave insight about the area.
  • I liked finding out information about someone’s experiences and how the community as a whole is affected by certain things.
  • I liked the photographs session, it was practical, it gave me a perspective, helped me see the area we’ve talked about.
  • It was an opportunity to look at community and individual issues.

The feeling of ‘making a difference’ was important to some workers

  • It involved us in work affecting the local community. Being involved gave a sense of helping to make a difference.
  • It is encouraging to see that projects of this type are taking place as they are getting information ‘from the horse’s mouth’.
  • I’m a self-advocacy officer, it’s about building confidence. I want people to be confident to say what they want and to know they’re being listened to.
  • Hopefully it will make a difference to the community and to individuals.

Workers liked how the study was managed and the feedback

  • The feedback from the sessions has been excellent!
  • The project was very well managed with excellent communication and information.
  • I liked getting the posters back.
  • I liked what was coming back.

Workers talked about how they liked the approach and tools – and valued the positive tone of the study

  • Working with the young person. I found the materials innovative and interesting to use. I don’t normally get the chance to work on a one to one basis and this presented me with the opportunity to face a completely new challenge.
  • I enjoyed the innovative research approach, the ‘tool’ for enhancing client and worker relationships. The client bought into it and even phoned up to ask for the next set of questions!
  • I liked the session on improvement to the local area, taking photographs of the area that needs to be improved. This was a practical session which brought hope and ideas of improving what is a ‘downtrodden’ part of the local area. 
  • It was active! Enjoyed the format, the time with just one person, the feeling that voices are needed. The colouring in was a great vehicle, it took the self-consciousness away from the local person and added great hilarity.
  • I thought it was a positive approach, asking how can the community improve rather than just a moaning session.
  • In the ‘Places and Spaces’ session I enjoyed getting out and about, getting out of the office. We sat on a bench and talked about how that space was a positive benefit to the community.
  • I liked it, it was quite creative, it made things flow easier, it made it more interesting. It was a good laugh.
  • I like the visuals, they capture the imagination right away, especially for people with additional needs, it helps keep people’s attention.
  • It was good to go out to take photos. That was great.
  • It was enjoyable and challenging.

The flexibility of the sessions was a good thing for some workers

  • I liked the freedom and structure. It allowed me to arrange meetings with the young person that were best for both of us, which meant we could spend the most time possible discussing the topics.

It’s difficult to find the time, schedule meetings and meet in suitable a place.

  • Trying to arrange mutually convenient times and finding quiet time to discuss topics without family interruptions. It would have been easier at times to have slightly longer to complete tasks because of interruptions.
  • The time factor – especially with moving my offices.
  • I found fitting in with the timescales a bit difficult as we are a small but very busy project. The young people we work with can be chaotic and recently it has been difficult for the young person to commit to the project because of personal difficulties.
  • It was sometimes difficult to find the time to get the meetings arranged due to the schedules of myself and the young person.
  • Covering all the issues in a reasonable time. It’s sometimes difficult keeping to the point.
  • Enough time to do the exercise because of job commitments.
  • Difficult to find time to suit both of us because of an increased workload for me and family situations for the local person 
  • The biggest issue for us is the time factor! Although in saying that this is all very important too!
  • Time is always a factor, managing a heavy caseload and fitting in an hour a month seems to be easy but in reality it’s difficult 
  • I needed more time because of my workload and because (the local person) is always booked up.
  • The time factor involved. I work part time so I’ll take an afternoon to do it, pick her up and drop her off.

Having more time between sessions and information earlier would have helped

  • It would be good to have more time between sessions.
  • It would be better to send the sessions out earlier.

Some themes have the potential to touch on difficult personal issues

  • I found it difficult when asking personal questions about things like finance and other personal matters - questions they had difficulty answering if they had a particular memory or thought they did not want to discuss.

Questions could be more specific or simpler

  • Questions could be posed a bit more specific, sometimes generalising is difficult. 
  • As a part of my work (with people with additional needs) we have to write in ‘easy read’ format, but doing this particular research I have had to break down the words used in the questions to the client’s level of comprehension.

It can be difficult choosing a local person to work with

  • There’s nothing specific I didn’t like. Overall I feel it can be quite difficult choosing (an elderly) person. My local person has been known to me for many years, I think cognitively she is not as good as I initially thought and at times it has been difficult to keep her focused.

One worker would like to have been consulted herself

  • I would have enjoyed participating rather than facilitating 

One worker would like more hard copy feedback

  • More feedback to the local person as they do not have access to a computer 

Group work may work better for some people

  • Personally I feel it may be better to interview a group of elderly people rather than just one.
  • Would like to give this format a try with small groups, the issues are all pertinent to the fold I work with.

Meeting other participants would be good

  • It would have been good for people taking part to meet.

Recording the session is not always easy

  • Sometimes we’d get carried away with the conversation and forget to record

Posing questions rather than making specific recommendations to regeneration partners isn’t a style everyone likes

  • The questions to the regeneration partners weren’t that clear

There is a need to make time to end the process with participants

  • The time frame meant no time to follow up issues after a session. Maybe it would be good to have a final session to wrap up where (the local person) is now and what can be done to follow that up with support. (The local person) has children to fit time around and I only work part-time.

Just over 1 in 3 of the participating workers have visited the website and read any of the full text reports. Many more have relied on the illustrated posters which give a flavour of each report to engage others in the findings of the study.

  • I hunted for her quotes myself, and then brought her in to see them; it was like a recall session.
  • To be honest I haven’t had the time, but have the feedback posters up on our walls and read them often, while on tea breaks, making phone calls, etc. They’re a great talking point in the office.

The study helped workers reflect on their own practice

  • I gained knowledge about her feelings regarding health and other professionals which made me think more about how we appear to and respond to clients.
  • Possibly found out I have a lot more patience than I thought I had.
  • This project has been very useful in my work and has helped me gain insight to aspects of health and wellbeing through discussions with my local partner.

Workers skills and approaches to engagement have been enhanced

  • It has improved my interview techniques. Made me more aware of questioning techniques. I have enjoyed using the creative tools that you provided, this provided ideas when carrying out future consultations. It provided good ideas on how to disseminate findings and that creative methods can make a bold statement. Other professionals have been very interested in this work.
  • I learned how to gain answers to questions without leading the young person.
  • I have learned better ways of getting young people to discuss further about certain issues. It has been useful because it has allowed me to undertake one to one sessions and I would not normally do this as my job is mainly administrative.
  • As a professional it has given me ideas which I use in my one to one sessions to enable young people to open up.
  • It helped in our group work.
  • I think the same process done with individuals thinking about themselves in relation to things around them would be a good personal development tool.
  • I have learned a different medium, about how to evaluate.
  • It’s been useful in working with young people.

Workers and local people got to know each other better

  • I learned to interact with one of my clients in a different way – allowed me time to explore her thoughts about many aspects of her life.
  • I’ve built up a good relationship with the young person because even though it has recently been a particularly bad time for them they still finished the sessions.
  • I have learned how different young people view things and some of the things that worry them or make them happy are not what I would have expected.
  • Although I know my client very well I have learned more about her expectations for the future.

The study helps workers gain more knowledge about local issues

  • I have gained more knowledge on how the local people feel about various issues and highlight areas and issues to focus on.
  • It has raised my awareness to all the various issues and problems going on locally. I like to read the local paper, I feel it is important as a health professional to have an overall picture of exactly what is happening, what improvements are being recommended locally.
  • I have found it useful – I have learned there are lots of people in the community with something to say – also a lot of common sense.
  • I learned how others perceive their community.
  • I feel that it has been good to learn that things in this area are not as bad as we workers think it is.
  • It’s extremely useful, it gives a good ‘helicopter’ vision of different issues relevant across the whole community.
  • It’s been useful as it has enabled more information on a Fife-wide range of other’s experiences.
  • As I don’t live in the area I work in I have found the study useful in gaining a greater understanding of the concerns of the community I work with.
  • It provided me with a first hand account of issues faced by people living within regeneration areas.
  • This has aided me in looking at all of the people’s comments Fife wide, and where we should be placing the emphasis in the future.
  • It’s given a deeper understanding of community issues.

The reports are useful and have been shared

  • Professionally it is good to have the evidence, all the information sent. I’ve kept everything I have been sent and would like to file it in some sort of order for others to access. We have told others about the projects via staff meetings. It is all very relevant – the health and wellbeing of my elderly patients is of the highest importance to me and my other colleagues. It is important to work together!