How we measure change 

Impact and evaluation has been embedded in The Wave Project since day one. All our programmes evaluate wellbeing change from a participant and whole-group perspective. Every young person who has ever taken part in one of our programmes has completed a questionnaire before and after their course to tell us how it affected them. These client questionnaires use validated items to ensure they are accurate and robust. We also work with parents and referral partners to get their perspectives on changes to the children we support.

In the past 10 years, we have gathered information from over 3,000 young people in the UK, so have a large dataset measuring change across 17 measures of wellbeing including self-esteem, resilience, confidence, social trust, positive functioning and friendships.

We use the New Economics Foundation (NEF) definition of wellbeing, which emphasises the importance of ‘personal development’ aspects of wellbeing over ‘life satisfaction’ and relate this to physical health (NEF,2012). In other words, our courses are deigned to help children to;

  • feel more positive about themselves
  • be more resilient to cope with other problems in their lives
  • have great self-esteem and self-worth
  • improve ‘social wellbeing’ – the ability to make friends and form social relationships, and
  • improve their vitality – fitness, risk taking and passion for life.