Evaluating Connecting in Communities - What’s it all about?

Connecting in Communities is the Community Development and Engagement Service of Glenkens Community and Arts Trust (GCAT) and is based at CatStrand in New Galloway, as well as within various venues across the wider Glenkens area. 


The service runs community-based connection projects, which are open to all, across the Glenkens and tries to target those at most risk of social isolation.  Some of the activities run by Connecting in Communities include the Men’s Shed, the Ukulele Group, photography group, writers’ group, tai-chi, Zumba, yoga, cooking classes and many more.  You can find out more about Connecting in Communities and GCAT here.


Connecting in Communities is reaching an exciting time in its development.  With just over 1 year left of the current funding period, the service is about the lead a new development for GCAT, namely the opening of a brand new community facility in Balmaclellan (The Smiddy) which will be a venue for heritage, skills building and employability workshops, and activities for the whole community (but with a particular focus on young people).  


At this critical time, the Connecting in Communities team (Brian Jones, Chris Jowsey and a dedicated team of volunteers) are keen to stop and take stock, to make sure that any developments are based on the needs of the communities they serve.  


They have commissioned Sleeping Giants (www.sleeping-giants.org.uk) a local social enterprise to undertake a creative and engaging evaluation of the service on their behalf.


How can I get involved?

We are looking to speak to people of all ages, from across the whole of the Glenkens and beyond; people who have used our services, and importantly, people who have not. 

Over October and November 2019, you will be able voice your opinions on the Connecting in Communities service in a range of fun and interactive ways (both your experiences of using it, if relevant, and your thoughts about its future direction). 


The Sleeping Giants Team will be based in the Glenkens, and will be running focus groups, stalls and outreach, one to one interviews, surveys and other fun activities all designed to help you shape the future of this important service.  Look out for posters, flyers and information on social media / web to find out when the evaluation activities will take place.

You can also fill out the survey right now by clicking here or by asking any GCAT staff member or volunteer (based at the CatStrand) for a paper survey.


If you need help to fill out the survey, or would like some support to access any of the other consultation activities, please get in touch.

Consent and Keeping You Safe


All our consultation activities will be carried about by trained people who have undergone criminal records checks (PVG). 


The information you give us will be treated anonymously, and although we might share WHAT you have said in our report, we will make sure that no-one can find out that YOU said it.  The only exceptions to this anonymity are if you tell us things in front of other people (e.g. in a discussion group – then other people will know what you have said), or if you tell us you are happy to share your views as a case study for our report. 


We will always seek your consent to carry out consultation with you, and if you are under 16, where possible[1] we will seek the consent of your parents or guardians.    If you or your parents / guardians have any concerns about safety or consent, you should contact us using the ways below. 


Don’t forget, although we would love to hear your views, you always have the right NOT to take part in our consultation, even if all your friends or family are. 


What will happen to the information you give us?

Your collective views will be written up into a report and shared with GCAT staff and volunteers, local people, organisations and funders.  The report will be used to make plans to develop Connecting in Communities, and to plan activities at the newly opened Smiddy.  All information will be stored securely in line with data protection guidelines. 


How to Find Out More


If you have any questions, concerns or comments about the consultation or about Connecting in Communities, you can contact brian@catstrand.com; chris@catstrand.com phone 01644 420 374, or 07760 884113

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