For over 20 years Skyblue has undertaken research aimed at helping clients design and deliver programmes that deliver physical and mental health benefits. This ranges from European youth health champion peer projects, to coach and volunteer workforce development planning and helping understand the social return of initiatives aimed at different segments of the population from the least to most active in society. Our long term relationship with North Yorkshire Sport continues to help improve activity levels in this county and provide leadership and innovation with an array of sporting and non-sporting partners. More recently our emphasis has been on helping support a Suicide Prevention Programme and identifying the links between mental health, loneliness and isolation.
Commissioned by Joseph Rowntree Foundation, we have developed a customised learning, coaching and development programme for 14 local charities that have a common purpose of reducing poverty and tackling inequalities in the City of York. The organisations vary significantly in their scope and include those working to support those who feel marginalised or discriminated against, young people to improve their aspirations, older people to develop their confidence to step back into employment through to individuals that have suffered abuse or have barely enough to get by from day-to-day. This programme seeks to develop the capability of these charities to demonstrate their impact so that they can improve their support services and work with investors and funders to focus effort where it can make greatest difference in future.
The Timpson Review (2019) identified a range of significant challenges in England’s school system that have been leading to a rise in permanent and fixed term exclusions. We are privileged to be supporting an independent evaluation of a major project aimed at reducing rates of exclusion on the East Coast of North Yorkshire working with 8 secondary schools, pupils, teachers, specialists (including educational psychologists), families, carers and alternative provision organisations until 2021. This will trial different best practice methods that should have the benefit of helping school exclusion preventative strategies whilst importantly helping nurture the relationships that are so essential to break the potentially negative spiral of consequences that can occur once a pupil is excluded.
Skyblue has been providing a monitoring and co-ordinating role for the North Yorkshire Coast Opportunity Area Essential Life Skills Fund that has seen 18 providers work to improve social mobility in the area through education. This Department for Education funded project aimed at coastal communities in Scarborough, Whitby and Filey has seen providers deliver diverse out of school extra-curricular sport, art, culture, experiential learning, therapy, social action interventions. Data collected over the project period is contributing to a national evaluation to inform future investment decisions.
Some of our most valuable learning has come from evaluating projects aimed at tackling disadvantage in society including but not limited to people with disabilities, physical, mental, learning and sensory impairments, autistic individuals, refugees and asylum seekers and young people furthest away from the labour market. Our work simply aims to ensure that the voices of these under-represented demographics are accurately reflected in our research studies and assessments to better improve services and self-support resources in future.