Background and Challenges
Through a collaborative effort involving various organisations, including; Monmouthshire County Council, Sustainable Food Trust, Farming Connect, Wye and Usk Foundation, Natural Resources Wales, and Dwr Cymru, the primary goal of the project was to empower participants with comprehensive knowledge about their cultivated land and its value. The programme aimed to provide landowners and farmers with the necessary information to make well-informed decisions concerning land use and production practices.
Named the Space for Local Production programme, this initiative aimed to foster a deeper connection between landowners, farmers, and the local community. By offering both practical and academic perspectives on land values and utilisation, the project sought to promote sustainable practices, meet local production needs, and highlight the unique characteristics of the Monmouthshire region.
Trueman Change Involvement
Our involvement in the Community Renewal Funded "Space for Local Production" project was focused on project monitoring and evaluation, assessing the delivery and impact of the initiative. The evaluation aimed to determine the extent to which the project achieved its objectives according to the evaluation criteria set by the Community Renewal Fund.
The project was structured into four key workstreams, each with specific goals:
Firstly, research and understanding were conducted to identify natural land health and future opportunities for land use changes.
Secondly, farmers and landowners were informed about the current and proposed interventions through the Global Farm Metric (GFM), which provided a solid foundation for land-use decisions.
Thirdly, the project offered and implemented pathways that balanced and optimised land use under various change scenarios.
Finally, the project aimed to influence change and measure individual land values by cataloguing information in an open digital system using the GFM.
To evaluate the project, we designed a project plan that included regular highlight reporting and mapped out key milestones. Our evaluation approach employed mixed methods, such as stakeholder interviews with the project team, primary research with farmers, and desktop research. We aligned our research methods with the objectives of the evaluation and conducted a policy review to analyse the project's delivery against the policy backdrop and strategic context.
During the evaluation research phase, we conducted interviews with participating farmers and project partners involved in the four workstreams. Additionally, we performed secondary research, including a desktop review, to assess project delivery processes, project management, governance, and partnership effectiveness. We analysed quantitative data, such as budget spend, project plans, key performance indicators (KPIs), targets, and information on benefits and outcomes.
Through our research and analysis, we were able to showcase the project's achievements and answer the fundamental question of whether the project successfully fulfilled its objectives. Our evaluation provided insights into the effectiveness of the project's implementation, partnership working, and overall impact.
Outcomes and Solutions
Our involvement in the evaluation of the "Space for Local Production" project has enabled Monmouthshire County Council to celebrate their accomplishments and lay the groundwork for future strategic regional and partnership initiatives with additional funding. We are currently collaborating with the council on other implementation areas, including the Living Land Management project.
As part of our deliverables, we provided a comprehensive evaluation report, available in both English and Welsh, which delves into the effectiveness and impact of the Space for Local Production project in great detail. This report thoroughly explores the outcomes and achievements of the initiative, providing a clear understanding of its success.
In addition to the comprehensive report, we also prepared a shorter evaluation summary report. This condensed version highlights the key findings and significant aspects of the project, offering an easily digestible overview for stakeholders and decision-makers.
These deliverables not only serve as a record of the project's outcomes but also provide valuable insights for future planning and decision-making. The comprehensive report offers in-depth analysis and evaluation, enabling stakeholders to understand the project's effectiveness and impact on a deeper level. The summary report, on the other hand, offers a concise overview, allowing busy stakeholders to quickly grasp the project's key highlights and outcomes. Together, these reports provide a comprehensive and accessible evaluation of the Space for Local Production project, aiding our client in celebrating their achievements and informing future initiatives in the field.