Key information

Independent evaluator organisation name(s)
IFF Research

One-sentence summary of the project
CatZero delivers a personal development programme, supporting young people towards education, employment, or training outcomes.

Total grant award money (£)

Total evaluation award money (£)

Duration of evaluation activities
1 year

Type of evaluation

Month/year evaluation activities were completed
January 2022

Project summary

CatZero were awarded a development grant from Youth Futures Foundation (YFF) to deliver their Youth Development Programme to 50 young people aged 14-24 based in the Hull and Grimsby.

Youth Futures commissioned IFF Research to undertake an evaluation of the programme to better understand the programme theory and the mechanisms at work toward achieving outcomes. The evaluation also aimed to capture a rich understanding of the intervention specification, its acceptability, and the outcomes achieved by participants.

The evaluation was comprised of two main phases. In the scoping phase, the evaluators worked with CatZero staff to develop two theories of change for the programme (one for the 18+ age group and one for the 14-17 age group), a participant journey map, and a needs profile of participants. The process study phase set out to test the extent to which outcomes were being achieved, and included interviews with staff, participants, and other stakeholders, as well as analysis of CatZero’s management information data.

Evaluation conclusions

Both the programme delivery and the evaluation were significantly impacted by the restrictions and limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic. These required CatZero to make changes to the programme throughout the delivery period, and the evaluation methodology had to adapt rapidly to these circumstances. Given the limitations of the study and small sample size, these should be treated with caution.

CatZero has a strong theoretical foundation. The study found that restorative practice, outcomes-based accountability, and an adventure challenge, which are key elements of CatZero’s delivery, have been linked to a range of positive outcomes in previous studies.

CatZero’s programme is highly individualised. Most activities offered are voluntary, so each participant’s experience is tailored to their needs. The optional adventure challenge (an eight-day residential sailing trip) was found to provide some benefit to those who took part in terms of outcomes, including confidence and resilience. Participants reported feeling supported by the CatZero staff in relation to a range of different programme activities.

CatZero’s programme operates differently for different age groups. The evaluation highlighted the different programme aims and mechanisms for young people who were still in education (aged 14-17) and those who had already left compulsory education (aged 18+), primarily due to the limitations of scheduling around school time, and the differing goals of the two age groups.

Action planning may support participants to achieve interim outcomes. All participants took part in an action-planning activity at the start of the programme, wherein they set small goals then met regularly with a support worker to discuss progress. This activity seemed closely related to the achievement of a range of interim outcomes.



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