Want to shout about and share
the difference you make to communities?
Need a supportive, critical friend and some helpful challenge to unpick things?
I help organisations, programmes and projects to show the difference they make through evaluation and capturing learning to share the valuable work they do.
“an excellent communicator, able to work effectively across a range of sectors with ease, displaying confidence and approachability.”
– Michaela Howell, Better Start Bradford
“a focused researcher, and an incisive communicator, with an eye for detail and a commitment to process.”
– Cormac Russell
A bit about me...
Hello, I’m Sarah. Thanks for stopping by.
I’m a freelance evaluation and learning specialist with a passion for people, community and social change. My approaches are values driven and strength based.
I’ve worked in and with the voluntary / community sector and public sector for over 25 years. I’ve been freelance since 2013 and have been lucky enough to work with a wide range of organisations, on a variety of projects and programmes, addressing an array of issues and supporting many different target groups and communities of interest.
I love learning new stuff and meeting new people so if you think we could work together or want to know more – I’d love to hear from you. Click the button below to book a free 15 minute chat and let’s see where it takes us!
What do I do?
Learning & Facilitation
I facilitate learning within and across projects and programmes and am skilled in (and really enjoy!) participatory learning approaches such as action learning methodology. Some relevant examples are:
Developed and managed a Learning Network for 16 community well-being projects over 5 years to share learning and good practice as part of the Altogether Better programme.
Facilitated action learning sets for staff working on projects aimed at addressing loneliness amongst older people in Leeds.
Various ‘Learning Partner’ type roles for national funded programmes e.g. Women and Girls for NLCF, Spaces to Connect programme (Co-op Foundation), Rise and Shine (Early Childhood Development) Programme for Comic Relief.
Evaluation & Research
I am an experienced evaluator and researcher, highly skilled in qualitative evaluation approaches. I have over 25 years experience of supporting practitioners and managers in both the voluntary and public sectors to evaluate effectively. I have undertaken numerous evaluation and research projects on a range of issues and involving a variety of stakeholders including community members, volunteers and health and social care professionals. I have experience of using facilitation to capture stories of significant change to demonstrate the features of community building approaches. Other examples of my work can be seen here.
I seek to create outputs and learning that will get read and stands out.
Who do i work with?
I work mainly with organisations, programmes and projects in the voluntary and community sector and sometimes with public sector organisations and sometimes with grant funders.
What do they say?
Richard Holmes – Barnwood Trust
“Sarah really helped us to achieve clarity in developing a leadership programme for those involved in asset based community development. She is very diligent and listens to the needs of her clients. Sarah is also an incredibly competent researcher and has a deep understanding of citizen led action.”
Claire Turner –Joseph Rowntree Foundation
“Sarah is a skilled researcher and evaluator; great with people and delivers quality outputs. She can get to grips with a brief quickly and is a pleasure to work with.”
Cormac Russell- Nurture Development
“Sarah is a focused researcher, and an incisive communicator, with an eye for detail and a commitment to process. Over the last decade Sarah has maintained a strong interested in Asset-Based Community Development, and has successfully helped to steward successful ABCD initiatives in Leeds and Kirklees. She a very good trainer and an excellent evaluator. This bundle of skills and values make her a strong addition to a team looking to extend their research and a powerful independent voice for those seeking critical friendship, and someone prepared to speak truth to power.”
Hillary Wadsworth – Time to Shine Programme
“I find Sarah to be very warm natured and easy to communicate with. I trust that she will do what she says she’ll do and do a good job. I also value her expertise and wider knowledge of community work including ABCD, social capital and community development. Sarah has personally led evaluation processes in the third sector so is very aware of the practical constraints of monitoring and evaluation in real life. Sarah has knowledge and understanding of both qualitative and quantitative evaluation methods. She is able to write in an accessible way and interpret complex information in a meaningful and useful manner. She is approachable, friendly, open, professional, trustworthy and conscientious.”
Charlotte Williams – Station House Community Association
“I needed a thorough evaluation for a pilot scheme combined qualitative and quantitative research. This was a new way of work for me so Sarah’s experience was very valuable in advising me on an evaluation strategy. I had my own wants and needs and the funder of the project also had requirements. Sarah worked hard to achieve a very high quality evaluation report exactly on budget and in good time. She came on a personal recommendation and I would not hesitate to recommend her. She is very professional and has great person skills. It was a pleasure to work with her.”
Mary Duffy – Barnardo’s
“Sarah is a joy to work with. She is eternally positive, very good at reading what is required in the moment during training and facilitation, and great at relating to people at any level. She is supportive, responsive, flexible, honest, and always solution focused. Her natural warmth and sense of humour go a long way in situations where people are struggling with new concepts applied to challenging work areas, often involving vulnerable people and troubled circumstances.
Sarah has a deep understanding of the fields of evaluation, impact measurement and evidence informed decision making and great respect for the challenges of applying this kind of approach across health and social care and work in the third and public sectors generally. She will be an asset to any work in this field.”
Chris Chinnock – Kirklees Council
“Sarah worked as a Consultant on a programme of work for Kirklees Council to explore ABCD (Asset Based Community Development) approaches. Sarah is able to engage with a range of stakeholders and to facilitate (sometimes challenging) conversations to ensure a positive outcome, Sarah is obviously very passionate about people and communities and this comes through in her approach to her work . Sarah’s specialist knowledge of evaluation in particular was very useful and I have no hesitation in recommending Sarah for future projects.”
Michaela Howell – Better Start Bradford
“Sarah worked with Better Start Bradford on developing our approach to designing interventions for improving outcomes for young children in disadvantaged communities. She is an excellent communicator, able to work effectively across a range of sectors with ease, displaying confidence and approachability. She offered our team training and ongoing support, explaining new concepts and challenging traditional thinking with sensitivity. I would recommend Sarah as a flexible and responsive support for similar work and thank her for her energy and drive.”
Karen Arnold – WomenCentre Ltd
“Working with Sarah was a joy – she is a clear and excellent communicator, she understood the evaluation brief and met all our expectations, she has a flexible approach and listens well, she asked for clarification if needed, she delivered all reports and summaries on time and to a high standard. Sarah ensured that the interviews with women were conducted with great sensitivity and care following sound ethical principles.
Sarah’s evaluation over a number of years helped us to understand what women accessing support and wider stakeholders really valued about our holistic women centred approach, what worked well and how we could further develop the service to make it more effective and responsive.
Sarah’s evaluation has contributed to us securing a range of funding to continue Women Making Changes.”
Alice Calder – Local Trust
“Sarah was a pleasure to work with. She was truly invested in the quality and success of the work and particularly the positive experience and feedback from Big Local participants. She was very efficient, reliable and thorough as well as flexible and adaptive when we had to adjust elements of the project due to COVID.
Big Local participants benefitted from a creative and participatory style and the personal, friendly approach. I would highly recommend working with Sarah, it will be a breezy, enjoyable and fun stress-free experience.”
John Kennedy – Joseph Rowntree Foundation
“Sarah carried out the evaluation of work on becoming a dementia friendly organisation and was also a key part of the team who produced the John Kennedy Care Home Enquiry. Sarah is an excellent colleague to work with. Sarah brings solid research expertise and broad experience across a number of sector and disciplines. I would recommend Sarah without hesitation.”
Pip Goff – Forum Central
“Sarah’s ability to keep large and evolving pieces of work on track, delivering a really accessible report that gives the work real traction and has enabled us to develop and share learning to the benefit of our diverse communities. She is a great collaborator, bringing in others’ expertise as well as helping us understand and clarify our purpose.
Sarah’s warm and practical approach combined with a deep understanding and attention to detail make her a joy to work with.”
Karen Cruise – Flourished Minds Ltd
“We wanted some external, independent evaluation of the impact and outcomes of the [coaching] service we deliver [to young people in schools]. We wanted someone with experience who could walk us through the process and get to grips with what we needed.
I found Sarah to be extremely flexible. I loved the way she took the time to really understand our business…her commitment and genuine interest in our service and objectives were impressive. The overall style of the report and its contented see se surpassed our expectations.
If you’re looking for someone to really and understand the essence of your business and the outcomes you want to achieve in a friendly but highly professional way, Sarah is the person you need to talk to!”
Chris Chinnock, Our Creative Connection
“Big shout out to Sarah for helping us to design an evaluation framework for Photovoice ….I wanted a clear method of approaching evaluation that won’t get in the way of the project and flexible enough that we can involve our partners and the people taking part in projects to design the method that works for them.
I highly recommend Sarah if anyone out there is looking for guidance around evaluation & impact!!”