Great day out

Project aims:

To involve the people who we most want to visit but are least likely to come to Eden.

Summary of activity:

Great Day Out provides facilitated visits to Eden for socially excluded people. Great Days Out start with a journey – a personalised tour that encourages groups to tell their own stories and share thoughts and ideas, as well as look behind the scenes, meet the people who make Eden tick, and learn more about each other, our interdependence and sustaining the world around us. Eden itself is an extraordinary creative structure, bringing architecture, engineering and technology together in one place as a learning statement; anyone who comes here absorbs at least some of the wonder of that. There is a lot of learning by osmosis, each Great Day Out includes a workshop enabling participants to get hands-on and immersed in creative, scientific and therapeutic activities. We do photography, flag making, cooking, felting, learning about plants, the rainforest, horticulture and lots more. In addition, interaction with and input from Eden’s diverse teams and the agency staff who accompany Great Day Out participants provides the opportunity for sharing expertise and can be the stimulus required to help agency staff recognise the value of inspirational experiences in the well-being of people in their care. Because each day is bespoke to the group who come, the outcomes are varied and we offer follow on support to develop ideas and projects that evolve from the Great Day Out experience. So far we have helped people do accredited courses in photography and hold exhibitions, supported garden and allotment projects, facilitated art projects and enabled people to volunteer.

Evaluation approach:

We have done extensive evaluation and get each participant and the staff who attend a Great Day Out to fill in an evaluation form, or with groups where literacy is an issue we conduct verbal video evaluations on the day. We have also used video diary rooms, postcards and photography, as well as in depth semi structured interviews and case studies with participants and staff after the days. Partner agency staff report that participants have increased self-esteem, confidence and health, are more willing to engage, have more positive outlook, actions and are more motivated to take part in volunteering or education and even gain employment. 100% of participants enjoy their Great Day Out.

What went well:

Great Day Out inspires and motivates some of the hardest to reach people in our society and works best when the partner agencies’ that bring the participants are proactive and integrate the visit into their programmes and activities so that there is coherence and continuity.

It’s enormously rewarding work to see the change in people in such a short space of time and the wider Eden team have been hugely supportive, it would not have been possible for us to make people feel so welcome and normal without them.

What was learned:

You can’t win them all. You need tremendous patience to work with some of the agencies supporting disengaged people, most are under resourced. We are always developing the programme, improving it, trying new workshops and trying to find new ways of evaluating the longer term impact of the programme to prove its worth.

Top tips and advice for others

Be flexible.

Respect everyone and judge no one.

Develop strong and honest relationships with partners, these are crucial to success.

Keep it fun and informal, people who generally have not responded well to formal education usually like doing practical things and will learn in an informal way especially if the learning is not overt.

Keep your colleagues in the loop, let them know what you are doing and why and you will be amazed by the support they will give.

About this project


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