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Jul 18, 2016

Enable East – Systems change through organisational development

  • Portfolio total project costs: £2,693,299
  • Total funding received from BIG: £2,687,354
  • Total number of beneficiaries: 30,000


The Enable East portfolio worked with over 30,000 people through 29 projects in the East of England, Lincolnshire and the North East of England, providing healthy eating, physical activity and mental wellbeing activities. The portfolio supported delivery partner organisations to embrace change management approaches to support the sustainability of their work in the longer term.

The portfolio lead recognised the importance of helping smaller charities plan their strategic marketing work with commissioners, as some of the Wellbeing 1 projects encountered common problems around managing risks and therefore providing assurances to commissioners. The lead partner organisation organised four Learning Network events to support capacity building of their smaller voluntary sector delivery partner organisations. The first Learning Network focused on risk, project management and communication strategies, another focused on sustainability and the final one explored monitoring and evaluation.

The portfolio engaged a Harvard University Professor who is a world leader in change management, to deliver training for their delivery partners at one of the networking events. The training explored strategic marketing and developing brand awareness to help organisations promote their activities to commissioners by:

“Engaging with commissioners and working out how they could work together to deliver the outcomes that future commissioners might want. And explore how they can adapt and change and move forward together successfully” (Enable East Director).

The change management event was also designed to help groups respond to changes in the external environment, such as funding and political priorities. Enable East also developed links between other parts of the health and social care environment and introduced their delivery partners to stakeholders to help sustain activities.

Participant/community impacts and sustainability

The Enable East portfolio exceeded all its targets. These were set around its three core target groups: armed forces families, looked after children and people using foodbanks. In terms of healthy eating outcomes, the portfolio reported that by the end of the grant, 24,882 people had increased awareness and improved attitudes towards healthy eating (compared to a target of 1,548 people in the first six months of delivery and 4,144 people in the second six months). 16,968 participants reported that they and their families were eating more healthily by the end of the grant (compared to a target of 968 people in the first six months and 2,169 people in the second six months).

In relation to the physical activity theme, 10,379 participants had developed individual plans for increasing their physical activity levels (compared to a target of 537 people in the first six months and 1,393 people in the second six months).

In terms of mental wellbeing, the portfolio produced strong results against a number of change indicators. 1,906 employers reported increased confidence and competence in supporting mental wellbeing, promoting good mental health and tackling stigma around mental health. At the community level, 16,836 people reported increased capacity, skills and confidence in their local community to promote mentalwellbeing (compared to a target of 871 people in the first six months and 2,459 people in the second six months).

The change management activities were well received by local commissioners:

We use a lot of voluntary sector help and I’d like to see them up-skilled and that’s what I’ve seen [at the change management event]. They’ve done a really good job in encouraging them, showing them how to make themselves proficient, how to make themselves more attractive to commissioners, and I really think they’ve done a good job” (Local commissioner from Essex County Council).

For further details, view the Enable East video produced by Ecorys:

In terms of sustainability, eight of the projects were continuing, by either embedding aspects of delivery into other programmes run by their organisation, or through having secured external funding

→Further details and references in the Wellbeing 2 evaluation.

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