Change that leads to better lives

Paper 4: Community Led Support: Learning from Stories of Change

The aim of this paper is to give voice to the people experiencing Community Led Support in a sample of places across the UK – providing practical examples of how people have engaged with CLS, to better understand the changes that have come about in their lives and how this has been achieved.

CLS Paper 4 Learning from Stories of Change MAY 2020 Page 01

Capturing, sharing and learning from change stories is a key component of the Evidence & Learning activities taking place within and across all CLS sites. Every site has their own way of doing this, but the underlying approach is consistent and based on the following methodology.

Change Stories are short, straightforward accounts that help us explore and better understand the range of experiences and outcomes relating to an initiative, service, support or development. These accounts can be at an individual, community, service or system level, and can tell us what types of supports, activities, approaches or actions worked in what context and for whom they worked, and how and why they were important to individuals.

Change stories are most often written by or from the perspective of individuals who are affected or involved in a personal change. They can also be written from the perspective of others, so it becomes their story of the change that has occurred; for example, about the experiences and outcomes for families or carers, staff or volunteer teams, services, organisations and communities. The key thing in the change story process is being clear what it is that has changed or is different, often in relation to desired outcomes, and what/who helped to make those changes happen.

Change stories are written retrospectively when something of note has taken place. This may be something which has worked well but may also be something which has not gone well which has led to important learning. They can complement other data and provide powerful evidence for decision makers and funders, as well as being useful for internal learning and reflection.
The Most Significant Change process is a tried and tested method for capturing, sharing, analysing and using change stories in a robust and inclusive way. It involves a cross section of people involved in a change programme working individually and together to record, analyse and scrutinise each other’s stories – and agree which ones best convey what is working (or not working) and what is making that happen. Over time, a story bank can grow which can be used for quantitative as well as qualitative analysis. It also provides a way of different voices to be heard and better understood. This is the aim of collecting and sharing change stories across the CLS Programme.

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