October 21st, 2019 / Insight posted in Articles

Inspirational social value of Suffolk Libraries uncovered by Moore Kingston Smith impact team

At the start of this year, the Moore Kingston Smith Fundraising and Management (MKSFM) impact team embarked on a journey with Suffolk Libraries to understand and demonstrate the social value of their organisation. The analysis revealed that, through three of its projects for local residents, Suffolk Libraries is creating substantial impact by returning £8.04 in social value for every £1 invested.

Suffolk Libraries is delighted with the quality of the report. They have reported that this piece of independent research has been key in enabling them to effectively communicate their crucial contribution to society. With increasingly less funding being available for libraries in the UK, there has been an increase in library closures. This has caused major concern among those who understand and benefit from the many services they offer communities.

“Independent, in-depth research commissioned by Suffolk Libraries shows the vital and previously unseen contribution libraries make to people’s lives in the county”

Suffolk Libraries press release 2 Oct 2019. Read the full report here.

The timely publication of this impact report will go a long way to evidencing Suffolk Libraries’ social value to external stakeholders.

“We’re very excited by the findings of this report, as it provides us with concrete evidence of the impact Suffolk Libraries is having on the lives of thousands of people in the county. We see a real link between people socialising through recreational activity in their community and improvements in their health and wellbeing. We see our services making life better every day and now we have conclusive proof that this is the case! This really is ground-breaking research which I feel will have implications for library services across the country, as this is the first time such an in-depth study has shown the value of library services in real financial terms.”

Bruce Leeke, CEO of Suffolk Libraries

The analysis looked at three key Suffolk Libraries interventions: their early years programme for under-fives (Baby Bounce and Tot Rock); Top Time which is aimed at senior citizens; and Open Space which is described as a safe place for people to drop in and chat to others. The activities under focus run every week, are free for service users and, last year, received almost 6,000 visitors in 43 locations.

The programmes provide safe, supportive and enjoyable spaces where stakeholders are able to make meaningful connections with others. The impact analysis revealed a total of 37 material outcomes being experienced across six different stakeholder groups with the most significant outcomes being:

  • reduced isolation
  • improved wellbeing and mental health
  • increased happiness
  • better developed social networks
  • the development of literacy skills for children

In addition to direct service users of the programmes, other groups who are positively affected came to light such as family members. One of the most interesting stakeholders was the NHS which benefits significantly due to service users being able to access support and care through the Suffolk Library programmes.

“Suffolk Libraries was a great project to work with. They have welcomed the findings and are eager to use the outcomes data and analysis to not only communicate their social value but help them grow and develop as an organisation” Helen Campbell, Deputy Director of Impact, Moore Kingston Smith

The MKSFM impact team follows a thorough process and a specialised methodology when analysing and calculating impact. They are a highly experienced team who are dedicated to helping their clients understand and demonstrate their social value.

To find out how MKSFM can help you measure and manage your impact, contact us for a free two-hour consultation impact@mooreks.co.uk