Each year at NOW Group we commission an independent consultant from Gauge NI to carry out a Social Return on Investment (SROI) evaluation of our work. As part of this evaluation the consultant carries out research into each of our services, looks at the associated data and engages with stakeholders to get an overall picture of the impact we are having.
The evaluation for 2016/2017 has revealed that for every £1 invested into NOW Group, £10 social value is generated, an increase of £2 on the previous year. This means that our services are reaching more people and having a positive impact on their lives. One participant commented, “It has had a big impact on my life in the best way possible.”
NOW Group is a social enterprise that supports people with learning difficulties and autism into jobs with a future. We provide a range of services including a dedicated training and employment team, a transition service for young people moving on from education, a volunteering programme and social forums. We also provide a Family Service which offers support to new and expectant parents.
As this year’s SROI evaluation shows we have a considerable positive impact on society. We challenge perceptions around the capabilities of people with learning difficulties by engaging with employers, we raise awareness of the benefits of using social enterprises through Loaf Catering and Cafes and we improve the customer service of JAM Card holders. Some of this year’s highlights include:
- A 43% increase in the number of people gaining paid employment - 370 people supported - 206 qualifications achieved - £181k earned in wages by our participants - 22 participants supported by our Family Service - 7700 JAM Card and app users - 40% increase in Loaf Catering income
Chief Executive, Maeve Monaghan comments, “2016-17 was a year of growth and success for our organisation. Everything we do is focused on having a positive impact on the lives of people with learning difficulties and autism so we are delighted that the SROI evaluation has demonstrated that we have increased our impact.
“We are already in the midst of another exciting year for the organisation. We have recently launched our JAM Card training which equips businesses to provide excellent customer service to people with learning difficulties and communication barriers, we are continuing to build relationships with employers to secure more job opportunities for participants and building work has recently begun on our new head office space in Belfast City Centre. We are confident these developments will mean we continue to grow the positive impact our services have on participants.”