An evaluation of the carers’ music fund

A process and impact evaluation of the UK-wide Carers’ Music Fund, for Spirit of 2012 and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).

What we did

Apteligen undertook a mixed method process and impact evaluation of the Carers’ Music Fund, a £1.9M fund for projects that used participatory music-making to improve wellbeing and reduce social isolation of female carers.

The evaluation looked at the impact of the Carers’ Music Fund on achieving its outcomes, and the potential learning for those organisations supporting carers in the community (and wider audiences interested in the arts and health). The evaluation was designed to contribute to the growing body of evidence about ‘what works’ in terms of improving wellbeing and generating social outcomes for unpaid carers through music and the arts.

How we did it

We developed a data collection tool and designed surveys for the projects to use in order to collect data on outcomes, which included both recognised metrics and bespoke measures. Data was submitted securely to the evaluation team on a regular basis, and we worked closely with the programme’s partners (Carers UK and the What Works Centre for Wellbeing) to identify and disseminate learning throughout the project. Our approach meant that we were able to accommodate the very different needs and delivery models used by the different projects.

In addition to the data collected by the project teams, we also undertook in-depth research with participants and delivery staff, including interviews, observation and analysis of local evaluation findings. This project began before the coronavirus pandemic and we therefore had to adapt and be supportive in developing our evaluation approach to ensure that it evolved in a way that was sympathetic to the challenges the delivery organisations faced, while still providing the funder with an understanding of the potential of this approach to achieving its overall objectives.

What the project achieved

The evaluation identified a number of new insights into the way that music-making enhances wellbeing and improves quality of life for female carers, the design considerations for these types of interventions, and the potential sustainability of the positive impacts seen during the project. The report was launched by Spirit of 2012 at the Carers’ Music Fund Summit, which was attended by over 50 key decision makers at both national and local levels. 

‘Apteligen have provided us with exactly what we needed, they have been helpful, imaginative and have worked with us every step of the way to support us to build a business case that evidences the success of a new pilot service.’

Project Manager, Turning Point

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