Iconic evaluated Talking Together, an innovative project delivered by Craigmillar Books for Babies in partnership with NHS Lothian Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) service.
The project supported families from the wider Craigmillar area of Edinburgh with a pre-school age child who would benefit from early communication and language development. Support was delivered through a combination of individual and group work in homes and community venues. The evaluation involved depth interviews with project staff from Craigmillar Books for Babies and NHS Lothian’s Community SLT service, parents and carers who benefited from the project, partner agencies including early years and healthcare professionals, and a review of project documents and records.
We found a need-led project that utilised a range of complementary group and individual support which was accessible to families. The support was delivered by highly skilled and very committed staff who worked in genuine partnership. Subsequently, we have referred to the partnership working as an example of good practice of third and public sector staff working seamlessly together. Broad awareness raising and extensive community outreach ensured that young children with delayed language and communication issues were engaged. Although the monitoring information had some limitations, it demonstrated the project had engaged a cross-section of local families, including those sometimes described as hard to engage. The evaluation demonstrated that Talking Together delivered interventions to families who would otherwise not be supported or had to wait for support from the Community SLT team because of limited capacity. This led to both parents/carers and stakeholders reporting improvements in children’s language and communication and this was highlighted as the project’s most significant impact. Improvements in parent/carers’ mental health and wellbeing were also highlighted as an important impact. It was also clear that staff had benefitted from knowledge transfer as a result of their joint working. We presented the evaluation findings to a specially invited audience including delivery partners, funders, parents and carers, and other local groups and organisations.
"Iconic Consulting have done a wonderful piece of work for us evaluating our Talking Together programme. This is the third time we have worked with Iconic and I would have no hesitation in working with them again. This is because they consistently deliver high quality work with a person centred approach. Ian’s ability to grasp the nature of our work, our approach and what we want to achieve was really remarkable. He showed a genuine interest and curiosity about our work. He is thorough, reliable and dependable producing work of a very high standard and to an agreed deadline. He has a warm, friendly, approachable manner which is invaluable when working in a community with a range of stakeholders. The evaluation helped us identify areas for improvement and gave us a real opportunity to reflect on our approach and direction. Ian's willingness to help us share the findings of the report with a wider audience was much appreciated".
Kara Whelan, Project Manager, Craigmillar Books for Babies.