Local youth organisation produces more than £2 million in social value

Some new research has shown that a Tees Valley-based youth organisation is able to generate £2 million in social value from £360,000 it has received through commissioning and grant funds in 2019.

Hemlington Linx youth project, based in Middlesbrough, carried out the social-return-on-investment analysis, looking at outcomes for young people such as increased self-confidence, improved physical and mental health, reductions in crime and anti-social behaviour, improved job prospects and better engagement in schooling. Overall, it demonstrated that Linx produces £5.50 in social value for every £1 invested in the organisation.

The research involved feedback from young people and key stakeholders to show the real impact of the organisation on the lives of young people. Partner feedback showed that Linx is highly valued, with 83.3 per cent of respondents stating its open access youth provision was “very important”, and an overall 90 per cent satisfaction rate for core services. There is also strong evidence that Linx, which is a Bronze Membership+ supporter of VONNE, is highly valued by young people, with comments including: “If it wasn’t for you, I don’t know where I’d be now”, “I used to be bad, but now I’d like to be a youth worker, so I can help others”, and, “They always listen to us, help us and make sure we’re safe”. The overall satisfaction rate from young people was 91.7 per cent.

Sharon Barker of Middlesbrough Borough Council told the organisation: “You have developed a 360-degree approach…one-to-one, detached work and youth clubs…it works really well.” 

Community Police Officer Mark Ballinger added: “Your impact is massive; you can’t underestimate it. The reduction in anti-social behaviour is an unbelievable result. It means we can put our resources elsewhere.”

The research drew upon data from the 2018 Middlesbrough’s Children and Young People Needs Assessment, and issues around poverty, social exclusion and a low sense of self-worth were taken into account, including that two in five of those unemployed in the area are aged 16 to 24, youth re-offending rates are higher than the national average, youth admissions to hospital for mental health, self-harm, alcohol-specific conditions and substance misuse are also higher than the national average, and Middlesbrough currently has a very high rate of permanent school exclusions.

The social-return-on-investment report reveals that Linx is making a real social impact for wider society through securing change for young people. In 2019, Linx worked with 964 individuals aged between 10 and 19, delivering 220 youth work sessions, 710 hours of detached work, and 184 hours of one-to-one support. Overall it contributed 7,420 staff hours to quality youth work across Middlesbrough throughout the year. 

Sara Mirsalehi, operational manager said: “This is a great piece of work that will assist Linx with sustaining future funds and services.”

The organisation's chair Jeanette Walker added: “This will be very useful and explanatory for future funding bids, and demonstrates how effective Linx is and its value in both monetary and social terms.”

The full report is available from hemlingtonlinx.org/Linx-SROI-Analysis-Report-FINAL. And to find out more about VONNE Membership, visit our membership information page.