Evaluation of the Sounding Out programme published

Sounding Out evaluation

When Sounding Out was still in the planning stages, we brought on board researcher Jim Cartwright to evaluate the first cohort as they formed the band Platform 7, took to the stage for some high-profile public performances, and developed their own facilitation skills on our Making Tracks projects with young people on the fringes of the criminal justice system.

The evaluation concludes that for every £1 invested in the programme, there was a social return on investment of £4.85. It found that the programme had an important impact on aiding the resettlement of participants:

“[He] completed 18 months on license from prison and there was no contact with police during this time or any intelligence linking him to criminal activity. This is a significant period for [him] and I honestly believe his involvement in Sounding Out was the principal reason.” Participant’s Probation Officer

The evaluation was made possible by kind support of The Monument Trust and is available to read in full here: Sounding Out Evaluation

If you are interested in receiving a print copy, please email luke@musicinprisons.org.uk.

We will be using the evaluation to inform the development of the  next stage of the Sounding Out programme.

so-eval-coverKey Findings

  • The research shows that Sounding Out was successful in offering a programme of multi-dimensional support to participants. This took the form of financial support, making new friends and contacts, on-going help to access other training and performing opportunities, a lift in motivation, hope and self-esteem, a clear sense of achievement and a positive use of time.  It was found that being paid appropriately for their time and commitment acted as an incentive not to re-offend and a support in the face of financial hardship. Additionally, being paid engendered a sense of professionalism and pride. Taking part also contributed to re-building positive family relationships and being seen in a more positive light by others.
  • Previous experience of the MiP prison programme appeared to be an important element for ensuring the success of Sounding Out. In particular, the previously positive MiP experience, and existing relationships with the tutor team, meant that participants positively anticipated the opportunity of undertaking the programme. This in turn led to changes in behaviour and well-being even before the Sounding Out programme commenced.
  • Sounding Out made significant impact on reducing participant re-offending levels. This is demonstrated by both the SROI calculation and qualitative data. Additionally the research documents how Sounding Out played a significant part in helping participants gain the motivation and confidence to successfully find employment.
  • Music was found to be a primary motivation, given that the participants were all passionate about playing and performing. More complexly, the research found that the process of creative music making and preparing for performances fostered participants’ team-working and negotiation skills, self-confidence, achievement and sense of pride at presenting oneself in a positive light.
  • The notion of trust was a prominent theme within the research and it was found that the Sounding Out participants felt a strong sense of responsibility towards MiP as an organisation, the staff team and the other band members. Participants reported that they felt a responsibility to be fully committed to the programme, support each other as a team, present themselves as positive role-models and perform to the best of their abilities. Additionally this sense of responsibility was a strong motivation not to re-offending at the risk of letting others down.

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