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An Independent Evaluation of the Life Changes Trust

In June 2019, the Life Changes Trust commissioned the University of Stirling and Ipsos MORI to carry out an independent evaluation of the Trust as a whole. The evaluators were tasked with looking at impact in relation to the two, overarching themes of the Trust: transformational and sustainable change. 

This evaluation is a multi-method evaluation of the work of the Life Changes Trust from its inception in 2013 through to November 2021.

The project has three overarching aims:

  • to tell the (hi)story of the Trust
  • to demonstrate the impact and outcomes for the three beneficiary groups of the Trust
  • to demonstrate the place and impact of the Trust in the wider policy and practice context

The overall picture presented in the report is positive. "The Life Changes Trust includes beneficiaries at the heart of its work, and its actions and activities have led to significant impact for the three beneficiary groups in Scotland as well as to the wider policy and practice landscape."

What this wider evaluation project does is provide a rigorous evidence base; drawing together diverse stories and perspectives to present an encompassing picture of the Life Changes Trust as an organisation effecting change at an individual, organisational, regional and national level across Scotland, and leaving a legacy that will continue to improve the lives of people living with dementia, unpaid carers and young people with care experience. 


The Evaluation

This was an ambitious project and the context of the pandemic naturally added additional challenges. However, the evaluators have produced a robust report with significant depth which we believe contains valuable learning for a wide range of stakeholders.

We have always focused strongly on putting people with dementia, unpaid carers and young people with care experience at the heart of our work. The Trust has important evidence on both the benefits and the practicalities of involving people with lived experience in a thoughtful and meaningful way. 

The evaluation project brought together findings from diverse sources, in order to consider the extent to which the Trust had met its aims, to demonstrate the impact and outcomes for our beneficiaries, to assess the place and impact of the Trust in the wider policy and practice context and to identify models of funding that would benefit others in the future.

A team of ‘community researchers’, including people living with dementia, unpaid carers and young people with care experience, also formed a core part of the evaluation team. They worked alongside researchers from the University of Stirling and Ipsos MORI across the various elements of the research. 

The Trust could not have achieved its mission without the many organisations and individuals who have been alongside us, showing a willingness to collaborate and do things differently. This Independent Evaluation report is for everyone who has played a part in the story of the Trust. 


On Wednesday 9th March, the Trust held its final webinar to share the key findings from the independent evaluation.  It was chaired by Alexis Jay, who is the Chair of the Life Changes Trust Board.

The evaluation project brought together findings from diverse sources, in order to consider the extent to which the Trust had met its aims, to demonstrate the impact and outcomes for our beneficiaries, to assess the place and impact of the Trust in the wider policy and practice context and to identify models of funding that would benefit others in the future.

The webinar featured:

  • Louise McCabe from the University of Stirling, who looked at the extent to which the Trust has met its aims; the impact on our beneficiaries; the importance of lived experience and relationships, as well as flexible and responsive funding; and considerations to take forward for others in the future
  • Alison Petch, a Trustee with the Life Changes Trust, who shared her perceptions of the Trust, its journey and how she felt it had developed and evolved, from a Trustee perspective
  • Michael Cheung, a dementia activist who has a diagnosis of dementia and who was part of the  Community Researchers team
  • A reflection on the most commonly asked questions about the evaluation with Louise McCabe and Community Researcher Annette Tait
  • Two films made as part of the evaluation, one featuring some Trust beneficiaries and the other the journey of the Community Researchers and their experience of moving from project beneficiaries to being part of the research team

You can watch a recording of our full webinar, or you can just watch some of the presentations, below, whatever works for you.  


You can watch the full webinar, below


Watch Louise McCabe from the University of Stirling, below


You can watch Alison Petch give a Trustees perspective, below


You can watch Michael Cheung talk about his experience as a Community Researcher, below


You can watch Arlene Crockett from the Life Changes Trust talk with Louise McCabe and Annette Tait reflect on the most commonly asked questions, below


The films

Alongside this report, Jay Gearing of Red7 Productions has made two films to illustrate first, the work of the Life Changes Trust and second, the methods employed in the evaluation process. Both films highlight the impact of work undertaken or funded by the Life Changes Trust, and, in different ways, places the Trust’s focus on participatory approaches front and centre. The films illustrate key findings from the evaluation.

The first film is called 'Trust' and features beneficiaries of the Trust, reflecting on our emphasis on relationship-building through creative and artistic methods, and on promoting 'voice' and participatory processes.

You can watch it here

The second film is called 'Our Journey: Community Researchers', and it reflects on the critical role that community researchers played in the co-production of the evaluation. It explores their experience of moving from project beneficiaries to community researchers, how their understanding of research processes evolved over time and, overall, the benefits and pitfalls of this method of co-production of research.

You can watch it here


Both films have extended versions. 

The shorter version of 'Trust', above, is a focused more documentary- like production. The longer version includes participants artwork, where relevant, and material reflecting visual imagery inspired by their words.

You can watch it here

The longer version of the Community Researchers film contains more detailed conversation.

You can watch it here


If you would like to learn more about the methods used in the evaluation, you can contact Louise McCabe from the University of Stirling: louise.mccabe@stir.ac.uk