Evaluation, Reports & Resources

Evaluation, Research and Monitoring

Since 2022 Cumbria CVS has been working to enhance its internal evaluation and research, as well as connecting the wider third sector to potential opportunities with research.

Over the next 12 months, we will be offering the following training opportunities to the sector on evaluation, research and monitoring:

These sessions will be run by Lancaster Imagination Labs, please look at the links below to find out more information.

To be notified when booking opens for these events please sign up to our membership to receive updates on these and other training opportunities.


Cumbria CVS Evaluation Toolkit

Monitoring and evaluation are an essential component of effective project management and have long been a major part of funders’ requirement for accountability and compliance.

It is important for VCSE organisations to comprehend the impact of their services and projects on their beneficiaries and service users. It can help to understand how to use your resources most efficiently to get the most value and assist with organisational strategy learning.

We’ve put together a toolkit to provide a simplified guide tailored to the unique needs of the VCSE sector in Cumbria, to help you with the practical implementation of monitoring and evaluation activities.

Download our Monitoring & Evaluation Toolkit here

You can use the simplified framework in this toolkit to build up your M&E process as follows:

Step 1: Plan for monitoring and evaluation

  • understand your project and it’s objectives (using theory of change)
  • define monitoring and evaluation objectives (what do you want to know about your project?)
  • develop indicators (how will you know?)

Step 2: Implement monitoring and evaluation

  • establish monitoring/data collection plan
  • collect and analyse data

Step 3: Report and use M&E findings

  • prepare and share a comprehensive report tailored to your different stakeholders
  • ensure that M&E findings are used to inform decision-making and improve your project performance


Evaluation Reports

Please find below a range of reports and reference materials that may aid you in further reading around many of the areas that the Third Sector works in and Cumbria CVS Supports.


Cumbria CVS reports

BBO My Future project evaluation

The My Future project provided support and worked with individuals who faced multiple and complex barriers to employment and who were furthest removed from the labour market.

It helped them to move towards and into employment by supporting them to play a greater, more productive role in their communities, demonstrate increased skills and confidence and be much more likely to consider employment or volunteering as a viable prospect.

The project ended in June 2023.

Project in a nutshell (a standalone exec summary)

Story of the project (the main findings)

Project learnings – (a look inside the project)


Third Sector Research and Support

Community Foundation/Durham University

Third Sector Trends 2023: People, Places and Policy Jun 2023

Local health and social wellbeing – the contribution of the VCSE sector in Cumbria (Summary report) May 2023

Local health and social wellbeing – the contribution of the VCSE sector in Cumbria May 2023

Third Sector Trends in England and Wales 2022: relationships, influencing and collaboration Feb 2023

Third Sector Trends in England and Wales 2022: finances, assets and organisational wellbeing Jan 2023

Third Sector Trends in England and Wales 2022: employees, volunteers, diversity and investment in people Dec 2022

Third Sector Trends in England and Wales 2022: sector structure, purpose, energy and impact Nov 2022

Going the Distance: How Third Sector organisations work through turbulent times Oct 2022

Third Sector Trends in England and Wales 2022 (Survey response, Initial findings from the survey and an outline of latest qualitative report findings) Oct 2022


National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO)  (website)

The Road Ahead 2022

Time Well Spent: The impact of covid-19 on the volunteer experience July 2022


Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR) (website)

Get the basics right: Findings from the Funding Experience Survey September 2022


National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA) (website)

Collaboration in Practice 2018


Blobs and squares

The Parable of the Blobs and Squares – Video (You will need a Vimeo login to watch – alternatively, you can watch the video via Youtube here.)


Independent Food Aid Network / Joseph Rowntree Foundation / Tom Pollard

Pushed to the Edge: Poverty, food banks and mental health (2022)



Waiting Well: The Impact of VCSE Sector Integration on GP Practice and Patient Experience

This case study aims to demonstrate what can be achieved to build capacity in a stretched health and care system when strong relationships are formed between health (in this example – the NHS) and voluntary sector partners to support people waiting for surgery and to optimise health outcomes for those who are most in need.

The Impact of VCSE Sector Integration on GP Practice and Patient Experience (2024)


The Health Foundation

Health in 2040: projected patterns of illness in England (2023)


Institute of Health Equity

A Hopeful Future: Equity and the Social Determinants of Health in Lancashire and Cumbria – Executive Report (2022)

A Hopeful Future: Equity and the Social Determinants of Health in Lancashire and Cumbria (2022)


NHS England (website)

NHS Long Term Plan 2019

NHS Long Term Plan 2019 (Summary)


National Health Science Alliance (website)

Health for Wealth – 2018


Our Research Partners in Cumbria

Please explore the links below to our partners in designing and developing resources and opportunities for third sector organisations in Cumbria.

VONNE: https://www.vonne.org.uk/north-east-and-north-cumbria-vcse-research-partnerships

NIHR/CoREN: https://arc-nwc.nihr.ac.uk/get-involved/coren/

Lancaster, Imagination Labs: https://imagination.lancaster.ac.uk/project/embedding-evaluation-method/

LeapFrog toolbox: https://imagination.lancaster.ac.uk/leapfrog-tools/leapfrog-toolboxes/


Need assistance in Research, Evaluation and Monitoring?

We hope the tools and resources on this page are helpful. While our Evaluation and Research Officer is on Maternity Leave, we encourage you to explore this page and attend one of our events above. We have paused our direct delivery support until our staff member returns in early 2025. If you require support connecting with a Health Research Opportunity or work with a Local researcher, please reach out to:

North Cumbria Health Boundary: VONNE (above)
South Cumbria Health Boundary: CoREN (above)


Links to live training and Evaluation Resources

The Toolkit – CAVEAT
The Little Book of Creative Evaluation
Training and Events | NCVO


Topic specific tools and resources

Health & Well-being

Evaluating wellbeing
Monitoring and evaluation framework for psychosocial support interventions
Outcome Frameworks for Health Improvement

Children & Young People

Toolkit for Monitoring and Evaluating Children’s Participation
Monitoring and Evaluating Life Skills For Youth Development
Evaluating Participation Toolkit
Tools For Participatory Evaluation


Volunteering Evaluation Guidance
Monitoring and Evaluating a Volunteer Programme

Other Monitoring and Evaluation Resources

Just For You Monitoring and Evaluation