Our Innovation and Learning Themes

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Our innovation and learning approach involves identifying key thematic areas within which we believe our intervention will bring about an improvement of the evidence base and will build understanding of “what works and why” when trying to address particularly tricky social problems.

Within each of our thematic areas, we devise Innovation and Learning Programmes which seek to address specific identified areas within a theme.   Innovation and Learning programmes can take a variety of forms, including commissioning and carrying out research, acting to engage and convene relevant partners and commissioning projects through our partnership awards.

Partnership awards are made to delivery organisations working in our thematic area of interest.  Partnership awards are specifically aimed at testing approaches and building understanding “what works and why” in addressing a specific issue.  Please note that organisations cannot apply for Partnership Awards through our open application process. Instead, they may be invited to apply for an award, or awards may be advertised openly for application, depending on the programme. 

The themes in which we currently invest or undertake research are listed below:

In June 2011, the Scottish Government setup the ‘Commission on Women Offenders in Scotland’ in response to figures showing that Scotland’s female prison population had doubled over the past 10 years.

The Commission was tasked with finding more effective ways of dealing with women in the criminal justice system. In 2012, the Commission published a report of their findings and made a total of 37 recommendations for changes that were needed to improve outcomes for women in the criminal justice system.

This included establishing local community justice centres that could provide interventions and support for women offenders at every stage of the criminal justice system. The Trust is interested in exploring if and how women’s centres can be co-designed with local women that provide space, activities, services and support for all women including those who are in or are at risk of becoming in the criminal justice system.

 

Through this theme we aim to:

  • Divert vulnerable women and girls away from negative outcomes and help break inter-generational cycles of negative outcomes within families and communities
  • Support vulnerable women, girls and their families to be safer, happier, healthier and more achieving

This theme developed as a result of our learning from funding projects that support young people leaving custody. The evaluations we commissioned evidenced that, for some young people, their lives could be turned around with positive futures to look forward to. However, these young people often have the stigma of having been in the criminal justice system.

 

Through this theme we aim to:

  • Increase understanding of the value of investing in preventative services and develop the evidence base of the approaches that are most effective in diverting people away from negative outcomes before they occur
  • Improve the ability for children and young people to achieve their full potential by supporting them to develop the skills, resilience and motivation they need to do so

The Trust does not plan to make any further significant investments in the theme of Alcohol Misuse. However, the current projects within this theme will be project managed to their end dates and relevant additional learning will continue to be shared.

The Scottish Government’s Alcohol Strategy; Changing Scotland’s Relationship with Alcohol: A Framework for Action was published in 2009. Our Trustees were concerned about the issues that harmful drinking were causing for young people, their families and their communities and considered that the Trust could contribute to the lack of evidence-base around what works.

 

Through this theme we aim to:

  • Develop the evidence base of the approaches that are most effective in supporting young people to make informed and responsible choices about alcohol
  • Reduce the harm that alcohol misuse can have on young people, families and communities

The Trust does not plan to make any further significant investments in the theme of Criminal Justice. However, the current projects within this theme will be project managed to their end dates and relevant additional learning will continue to be shared.

The Trust’s interest in criminal justice stemmed from the DORIS (Drug Outcome Research in Scotland) carried out on our behalf by Professor Neil McKeganey at the University of Glasgow.  One theme emerging from this research was the ‘revolving door’ of prison which existed for many serving short-term sentences, many of whom had addiction issues.

 

Through this theme we aim to:

  • Develop the evidence-base of the approaches that are most effective in diverting people away from the criminal justice system and other negative outcomes
  • Reduce the impact that offending behaviour has on individuals, families and communities

The Trust has had a long-standing interest in supporting community sport projects, recognising the potential they have as diversionary activities for young people.  More recently we have recognised the specific area of Sport for Change where sporting activities are intentionally used to deliver social impact for individuals and communities beyond increasing participation in sport.

 

Through this theme we aim to:

  • Increase understanding of Sport for Change approaches and ‘what works’ when trying to develop sustainable sports organisations that meet the needs of their communities
  • Develop the evidence base on what type of approaches are most likely to be effective
  • Support funded organisations to deliver better impact through sport
  • Inform the policy and practice environment around Sport for Change