Motivators Angus 2005

Members Evaluation Report of the Motivators Angus Project

The Group
Run by Angus Mental Health Association, the Motivators Angus Project supports adults aged 16-65 living in rual Angus who experience mental health problems.  Based on a person-centred approach, it aims to assist in recovery, improve equality of life, increase community participation and promote independence.  At its height, it operated from bases in four towns and offered creative writing, photography, music and art groups, an allotment and outdoor activities.  Members published and exhibited their work across the county and participated in a range of visits and workshops.

What were they trying to achieve?
When the funding for the project was about to end, members and staff decided to carry out an evaluation to help design future services.  The aims were to:

  • Tell the story of the project
  • Record members' experiences and the difference Motivators made to them
  • Discover if the project had been effective
  • Look into the differences the project made to carers and relatives
  • Identify any gaps in services if Motivators were to close
  • Ask what lessons could be learned for the future

How did they go about it?
A core group of eight members were trained as community researchers and worked with staff and professionals to plan and carry out the evaluation and write the report.  A range of methods were used:

  • Background information was collected on referrals, the characteristics of users and activities
  • Focus groups and individual interviews were conducted with members, ex-members and carers or relatives
  • Members made a video about the project
  • Members submitted poetry, art and other creative work about their experience of Motivators
  • A celebration event was held to launch the report

What did they learn?
The vast majority of people - members, carers and professionals - were very satisfied with the project.  Members reported a wide range of achievements as a result of being part of the project, including reduced social isolation, participating in volunteering, college courses, jobs, community groups and produced, exhibiting and selling creative work.  Members particularly appreciated the person-centred approach, for example, being able to 'go at their own pace', to attend groups that were ongoing rather than short-term, to be treated as a person rather than a 'patient', and the focus on talents rather than illness.  Their experiences increased confidence and the feeling of being in control of their lives and led to improved health.

Members, carers, relatives, staff and other professionals felt that the closure of the project would leave a huge gap in services.  In summary, the recommendations were that the project should continue to be funded, raise its profile, link members in different towns, involve carers more and create better monitoring systems to record outcomes.

Angus Mental Health Association
Lindsay Street
DD11 1RP