Get into Summer 2021: qualitative evaluation

Get into Summer 2021 qualitative evaluation.

2. Overview of Get into Summer activities

Key points

  • Local authorities and national delivery partners delivered a very wide range of activities to achieve the intended outputs set out in the Get into Summer logic model (play, fun, outdoors and active; reconnecting with peers and communities; integration of food and wider family support).
  • There was wide variation in how activities were executed. This included structured activity programmes and funding/grants/resources direct to families.
  • Get into Summer funding enabled local authorities and national delivery partners to expand their provision in a number of ways:
    • Increasing the reach of existing activities
    • Increasing the length or intensity of existing/pre-planned activities
    • Improving the reach of activities to target groups, and
    • Adding entirely new activities to their summer offer.
  • The investment in, and structure of, Get into Summer also enabled local authorities to connect diverse existing and new activities into a more coherent, whole area offer.
  • Partners reported involving children, young people and families in the design of Get into Summer in a number of ways, ranging from consultation to more involved participation in co-producing the activity programme. Partners described taking an iterative approach, revising plans and activities in response to feedback from attendees.
  • On the whole, local authorities, national delivery partners and children and young people spoke positively about the choice of activities available.

The Scottish Government's intention – as set out in the announcement of the funding, refined through discussion with young people,[17] and reflected in the evaluation logic model – was that Get into Summer funding would:

  • Deliver a wide-ranging programme of activities, across all 32 local authorities and through 18 national organisations, that:
    • focus on play, having fun, getting outdoors and being active
    • provide opportunities to reconnect with peers and wider communities in a safe environment
    • integrate free food provision and family support
    • are accessible / mitigate barriers to participation
  • Be used to enhance existing services and/or provide new or additional activities, without displacing what was already available, and
  • Enable activities that are co-created with children and families.

This chapter describes the range and types of activities delivered through Get into Summer, before going on to consider the extent to which funding was used to enhance existing services and/or to provide new or additional activities. It explores whether and how programmes were co-created with children, young people and families, and whether they felt they had a choice of activities.

Range and type of activities delivered

On the whole, the vision for delivery of Get into Summer set out when the Scottish Government announced the programme and elaborated in the evaluation logic model has been realised. All local and national organisations were able to provide activities that incorporated at least some of the features outlined above. The monitoring reports indicated that all/almost all organisations delivered activities that: focused on play and enjoyment, included getting outdoors, and included getting active/physical activity. The provision of integrated free food was also reported by most organisations. Incorporating family support/referrals to wider services explicitly as part of activities was less common, with around half of organisations reporting having done this (as indicated by monitoring reports).

Across local authorities and national delivery partners, a very wide range of activities were provided to achieve these intended outputs. Examples are provided in Table 2.1[18]. Many partners commented on the ways in which they felt the Get into Summer funding had allowed them to be creative, and to offer high value activities and options to children, young people and families that would otherwise have been outwith their budget:

"I could just about cry when I read that one, three kids got to design their own short holiday, and this was three young people who lived in residential care and, you know, one of them went mountain biking in Glentress, one of them wanted to explore her roots in Cheshire and I think the third one went horse riding in the Lakes. […] we could never have justified doing anything like that under our previous budget, but we did this year because we thought, 'you know, we have actually got the money this year and that is an amazing project that actually could be huge for those households'."

(Interview, local authority 11)

The ways in which these activities were executed varied across organisations and were informed by several key considerations including: existing provision and networks; perceived gaps in existing provision (e.g., for particular target groups); evidence around what children, young people and families wanted; available facilities (such as schools) in which to host activities; available time to plan programmes; and COVID-19 restrictions. These issues are discussed throughout this chapter and in chapter 6 (impacts on partners).

Table 2.1: examples of activities delivered
Focus on play, fun, getting outdoors and being active Providing opportunities to reconnect with peers and wider communities in a safe environment Integrated free food provision and family support
Outdoor activities: den building; orienteering; outdoor learning; geocaching; beach picnic; bug hunts; mud kitchens Community projects and events: painting an underpass; litter picking; recycling; gardening; mural design; street play; gala days; pop up roadshows Food: provision of food at activities/for day trips; meals out; family cooking sessions; family BBQ packs; recipe and ingredient packs (sent home after activities)
Sports/active: football; basketball; netball; dance; skateboarding; cricket; rugby; park games; horse riding; water sports; skiing; surfing; mountain biking; sports tournaments Transition activities: various activities specifically for those starting primary/secondary school Intensive family support: third sector organisations working with families (e.g., Women's Aid, Children First), therapeutic programmes
Play: Lego; storytelling; free play; messy play; scavenger hunts Passes for community facilities: leisure facilities; community attractions; travel passes Access to support organisations: facilitated access to support agencies (e.g., welfare rights); introductions / reconnections with agencies / support workers through staff joining trips
Arts/STEM: music; media; computing; photography; arts and crafts; drama; media; graffiti workshops Vocational activities: work with local employers; local colleges, team building Advice and support to parents/carers: drop-in/virtual sessions to provide support to parents on topics such as finance, food poverty, fuel poverty, training and employability and local support services.
Trips/holidays to various attractions including: farms; safari parks; laser tag; Edinburgh Dungeons, residentials, family holidays

Figure 2.1 (overleaf) provides a summary of the different ways in which provision was delivered.

Figure 2.1: Ways of delivering Get into Summer activities

summary of the different ways activities were provided both directly and indirectly during summer 2021 through the Get into Summer funding

Enhancing existing activities and facilitating new offers

In line with the intention described in the logic model, Get into Summer was perceived to have enabled both the enhancement of existing or pre-planned programmes and activities, and facilitated new offers in various ways, including:

  • Increasing the reach of existing activities – for local authorities and national partners that already had established summer programmes, the Get into Summer funding had facilitated the expansion of these programmes to deliver to more children and families, in more locations than would otherwise have been possible

"We also looked at providing greater opportunities in things that already existed, so we had really successful, for example, in and out of school club which ran in the summer anyway. We were able to provide funded places, so we were able to increase that. We were able to increase some of our programmes that we run in the early years to involve more young people."

(Interview, local authority 12)

  • Increasing the length or intensity of existing/pre-planned activities – for example, offering longer sessions, or more sessions.

"This extra funding allowed that to be, I guess more opportunities, better opportunities, bigger opportunities, or more of them. So, instead of meeting once a week, they were meeting three times a week."

(Interview, national partner 3)

  • Improving the reach of activities to target groups, either through removing barriers to existing activities (e.g. through free food and transport), recruiting additional staff to work with or support target groups, funding partners who already worked with target groups to deliver activities, or commissioning new activities aimed at specific target groups.

"This funding enabled us to work in a deeper, targeted and meaningful way with families who are both underrepresented and new to [our organisation]. The funds paid for freelance staff who could take this focused approach and for an artist and performer."

(Interview, national partner 11)

  • Adding entirely new activities to their summer offer - for partners that did not normally deliver summer programmes at all, the Get into Summer funding had led to the creation of a completely new programme. In other cases, it had enabled organisations to add new activities and to be more ambitious in their plans.

"… it could be anything from, mountain biking, camping, going go-karting, it was a real range of the types of just fun activities that young people were asking (for), … (The) youth work sector has a history of running summer programmes every year, but they tend to do it on a shoestring, and this year some of the feedback was amazing that it really allowed them to put on some amazing things."

(Interview, national partner 3)

In addition to enabling partners to expand the number, range and reach of activities, local authorities also commented on the ways in which the funding and structure of Get into Summer had enabled them to connect their own and their partners diverse existing and new activities into a coherent, area-wide offer (impacts on partnership working are discussed in more detail in Chapter 6):

"It also brought local partners into a combined delivery approach that would not otherwise have worked collaboratively in the delivery of a Summer programme. From a partnership perspective, individually we would generally not work with such a broad age range, however combining resources and expertise resulted in an enhanced summer programme for the whole community that was inclusive to all children and young people."

(Monitoring report, national partner 9)

"By supporting so many different community-based organisations to deliver, we were able to provide a geographical spread of many varied opportunities for children and young people. The networking and further partnership working by delivery partners was also very strong and resulted in a comprehensive and co-ordinated programme."

(Monitoring report, local authority 26)

Co-creation of programmes with children and young people

A key aspiration for Get into Summer was that programmes be co-created alongside the children, young people and families who would be using them. Partners were highly supportive of this principle, reporting that this was also a core component of their ongoing work with children and young people and recognising its importance in delivering successful, well attended programmes. However, there were some differences in the extent to which partners reported having involved children and families in discussions about their Get into Summer plans. Some reflected that time had been a factor in being able to consult as much as they would have liked at the planning stage, particularly where they did not already have pre-existing routes and relationships for doing so. There were, however, many examples where delivery partners had managed to successfully incorporate the views of their target audiences into planning in some way, ranging from consultation to more involved participation in co-producing their programme:

  • Consultation. Partners used a range of approaches to gather children, young people and families' views, including: surveys (by text message or social media, to get a high-level overview of the kinds of activities wanted); questions on preferences included in application forms; focus groups; consultation via schools (e.g. through parent councils or head teachers asking children what activities would like); and conversations with children and families as part of partners' existing contacts with them.
  • Co-design. Although less common, there were examples of children and young people playing a greater role in the co-production of Get into Summer activities. For example, in one local authority, two co-production groups (one primary and one secondary) of children and young people were created. These groups identified key principles that planned activities should cover, to which all funding applicants had to adhere. Another local authority described a youth mentor scheme which enabled young people to plan their own activities, while a national organisation reported having supported children and young people to lead sessions and deliver activities themselves.
  • Responsive design. While the extent and nature of co-creation with children and young people at the initial planning stage varied, the involvement of children and young people in the ongoing development of Get into Summer activities appeared to be commonplace. Organisations described iterative processes whereby programme activities were regularly reviewed and adapted in line with feedback from those attending them. Indeed, in some cases, organisations described having designed programmes in such a way that they were flexible enough to be tailored as required. As discussed in Chapter 6, the flexibility of the overall Get into Summer approach was viewed as key in supporting and encouraging this iterative approach to consulting and involving children and young people.

Examples were provided of feedback resulting in adjustments to more practical features of the programmes, such as the introduction of shuttle buses for children with ASN or changes to the type of food provided. Other examples of feedback from children and young people impacting on the content and flexibility of programmes included: running successful activities more frequently; offering them choice of which activities to do on a given day; and asking them to come up with ideas for things they wanted to do or trips they would like to go on.

"We would be in the office and the team would be coming in at the end of the day going, 'oh, we need to grab such and such for next week, because this wee boy or this wee girl really liked, or mum really wants some help with, or ideas with [that]'. So, it was lovely actually that kind of organically things…there was that kind of in-the-moment planning."

(Interview, national partner 4)

Where direct consultation at the design stage was not possible, partners reported using existing knowledge of what children, young people and families want from activities to inform their plans. For example, a service that had a 'wish jar' for activities young people wanted to do, many of which had previously been too expensive to fund, used this to inform their Get into Summer plans. Planning partners also drew on the knowledge of partner organisations that were already working closely with the children, young people and families they wanted to reach.

"We have got a very mature third sector provision in many of our communities across the city, and what we have found is that these community groups and organisations have built up excellent local relationships with the communities, so in many cases it became less of an issue for the council to be doing that engagement."

(Interview, local authority 16)

Programmes were also designed using organisations' existing knowledge and experience from running previous summer programmes, particularly where organisations felt they did not have sufficient time to conduct any new consultation or where they felt confident in their knowledge of what children and young people had enjoyed. There were examples of plans drawing on evaluations of previous programmes, as well as the views of practitioners directly involved in delivery of activities for children and young people. There was also evidence of organisations having undertaken research with children and young people during the COVID-19 pandemic and incorporating the results from this into their planning.

"We didn't involve them at the working group stage, because there just wasn't time to do so. What we did do was we drew on other information […] [A lockdown survey completed by more than 500 young people] gave us some really good information about what they needed, they wanted activities to get together so that would improve their mental wellbeing, and that really highlighted that transport was a barrier to participation."

(Interview, local authority 11)

Opportunity to make choices

The extent to which the Get into Summer programmes provided children, young people and families with the opportunity to make choices – in advance and on the day – was discussed with both professionals involved in the delivery of the programmes and programme participants. In line with the fact that Get into Summer funding had facilitated the expansion of existing provision, professionals spoke positively about the choice of activities available to children and young people, feeling that there was 'something for everybody'. On the whole, children and young people also felt they had been offered choices. Some described being able to choose what activities they attended and others spoke of the choice available while at sessions. However, when asked about suggested improvements, having more choice and variety within activity sessions was a theme:

"They didn't really force me out, so if I wanted to stay in, I could stay in but if I wanted to go out, I can go out. Sometimes people say like 'oh you have to do this; you have to go, or you have to stay out'. But they let you decide to see if you wanted to stay out or stay in."

(Child/young person interviewee 43, age 12, low-income family)

"If we could go like nature walks and stuff, go to like the park, special activity, and then we could then come back and then we could do, like we could like play like games in the hall and then we could like…the children can ask, the children, each child, well if a child has a game they want to play they can tell the adult, and they can like tell how you play it and we can play that game, instead of the adults picking the game."

(Child/young person interviewee 23, age 10)



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