Stories of significant change

Sustaining Our Towns – invite you to share stories of “significant change”

As part of the final project evaluation, Sustaining our Towns is asking people involved with the project to tell them about changes resulting from the project’s activities that they feel are significant.

As a participant in the Sustaining our Towns project which ends on 31 March 2012, they are asking you to provide them with feedback.

The following has been sent from Kerryn Hopkins, Project Officer and Monitoring and Evaluation for Sustaining Our Towns. Please feel free to forward any questions or comments to Kerryn on her email.

Seeking stories of “significant change”

We are looking for brief stories exploring how the Sustaining our Towns project has contributed to changes in your lifestyle, business or community, including at the regional level. These stories will help us understand the impact of the project and learn from the best of what has been achieved.

Barriers to change

We’d also like to hear about any barriers that you feel have impeded change occurring. As with the stories of significant change, these insights will help us understand the impact of this project, as well as provide valuable information to inform the design of future projects.

How to submit a “significant change” story

We need stories to be brief (no longer than a page) and written in a narrative style using a personal, informal tone. Because the stories are about change, they need to describe the situation before the change, what then happened, and the situation after the change occurred. Your story may include your name, or may be written in a non-identifiable manner. For a story guide template, please contact Kerryn.

As well as stories being posted or emailed to us, they can be collected via a phone interview with the Sustaining our Towns project evaluation officer Kerryn Hopkins on 0429 788 508. Please call Kerryn to discuss your story contribution either way.

Deadline for story contributions is Tuesday 31 January 2012.

What will happen to your story if you submit one?

Collected “significant change” stories will be reviewed at a community evaluation session during February 2012. Meeting participants will read and discuss the stories, then agree on which ones are most significant, and why. The discussion about this is captured and analysed, and will also be communicated in our project evaluation report.

Stories selected to represent the most significant change, or insights into barriers to change, will be included in the final project evaluation report. If your contribution is selected, we will contact you to seek permission for your story to be published, either including your name, or in a non-identifiable manner. More details of the Sustaining our Towns privacy policies can be accessed at on their website.

Community evaluation sessions

You’re also welcome to attend one of the “significant change” community evaluation sessions where stories contributed will be reviewed, and the story representing the “most significant change” will be selected by meeting participants. Or you may be interested in just attending one of these meetings rather than submitting a story of change yourself.

Meeting dates are:
1. Narooma: Tuesday 14 February 2012, 2-5pm
2. Queanbeyan: Tuesday 21 February 2012, 2-5pm.

Venues for both meetings will be advised in early 2012. The evaluation meetings will follow a meeting of the South East Food Project, an initiative of Sustaining Our Towns, held earlier in the day (10am-1pm) and at the same venue. This will enable those involved in the South East Food meeting to participate in the afternoon evaluation session should they so wish. Contact Kerryn Hopkins to express interest in attending the evaluation sessions, or to find out more.

More about the evaluation method being used

The Sustaining our Towns project has run for 2.5 years across the south eastern NSW region. It has aimed to reduce the “ecological footprint” of homes, businesses and communities across the region. We are currently undertaking an evaluation of the project to capture what it has achieved — or not — over this time. We’re using an approach known as the Most Significant Change technique as part of this project evaluation process. This involves project participants identifying the types of change that have occurred as a result of participating in the project, and analysing this information in relation to the overall aims of the project. You can find out more about the Most Significant Change evaluation technique at this website.

Thanks again for your involvement with Sustaining Our Towns. Please take this opportunity to become involved in the final evaluation of the project. And please feel free to pass on this to others you know who may have been involved in the
project in some way.

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