We're proud to publish our independent evaluation of the Life Changes Trust Advisory Group (Young People with Care Experience Programme), co-commissioned by the Trust alongside the young Advisors.

Watch our Evaluation Stories webinar Opportunities for meaningful participation in evaluation – in which we share some of our learning points, reflections and practical ways of working, drawing on this work with the Life Changes Trust Advisory Group.

Read the Highlights Report

This Highlights Report relays the key findings of our evaluation, with a special focus on sharing learning and good practice in co-production, responding to questions like:

  • What makes the space for co-production safe?
  • And, how do you ensure mutual benefit?

Download the Highlights Report

Download pdf

“In conversation with Advisors and staff at the end of this collaborative evaluation, we refined their understanding of what factors have helped this approach to work for them. Significantly, one Advisor used the metaphor of building a home, clearly so relevant to care experience and resonant with other findings in this report, to explain how co-production can flourish. Following this metaphor, the foundations of the home would be the relationships you build and the values you hold. The frame might be constructed with the principles of mutuality, equality, safety and support. Inside of the home there is space for fun, friendship, hard work and persistence. People are encouraged to contribute to their fullest potential, without limits.”

– Excerpt from the Highlights Report

To go deeper into this work, a full evaluation report including five in-depth, impact case studies is linked below.

Watch Side by Side: the Magic of Co-production, the Advisory Group’s film

A distinctive feature of this work is that the findings were communicated through a set of films, as well as through the usual written outputs. To achieve this, we worked closely with partners media co-op, who supported the Advisors to co-produce the films, putting the story powerfully into their own words.

Read on to find out more about the Life Changes Trust Advisory Group and how we worked with them to tell the story of their work and impact.

About the Life Changes Trust Advisory Group

The Life Changes Trust Advisory Group brought together young people who have all experienced care at some point in their lives, and who contributed to a range of work both internal and external to the Trust, including co-producing individual grants programmes. The Trust’s approach was grounded in the beliefs that people are experts by unique experience and that the voice of lived experience is the key to transformational change.

Our evaluation

[It’s] hard when you know something should be better and you’re not in a position to do anything about it and actually being in a position to do something about it is very, very empowering and it feels great!”


At the start of 2020, Matter of Focus was selected by the Trust and the Advisors to carry out an independent evaluation of the Advisory Group, to bring a clearer understanding of the work and what was achieved.

Working in close collaboration with the Group and the Trust staff/trustees with our outcome-focused, theory-based evaluation process, we sought to understand the Group’s impact on:

  • volunteer Advisors themselves;
  • the Life Changes Trust as an organisation including the experiences of members of staff;
  • and the wider community of young people with care experience through policy-influencing work and grant-making.

We were also tasked with exploring and clarifying the particular approach to co-production taken here, so that this could be shared more readily. A key output, included in both the highlights and full report, is an outcome map describing each step of the journey from activity to impact, showing how the Trust and the Group co-produced their work. This could be used and adapted by others to reflect on their own journey through similar work.

six infinitely looped circles in a row, each containing a step in our evaluation process: Literature & Document Review, Context Analysis, Outcome Mapping, Data Collection & Analysis, Collaborative Analysis, Dialogue and Reporting
The phases of work in this evaluation. The looped circles reflect an iterative process rather than linear.

This extensive piece of work, which involved navigating the challenges of the pandemic restrictions, has been hugely rewarding.

It has been a privilege to work with the Advisors so closely and to have their trust to tell their story, which has so much potential to inform the work of others. We have learned so much through putting together contribution stories of the impact of the Advisory Group; and finding the language of impact for this kind of work.”

Helen Berry, Senior Research Consultant at Matter of Focus and co-author of the report

A key quality of this evaluation was the way the Advisors were involved at every step, and we will be sharing more about our practices and experiences of this in a forthcoming webinar.

Download the full report

A thumbnail image of a report cover

If you would like to read our full evaluation report, you can download it below.

Download pdf

Watch the online learning event

In November 2021, the Life Changes Trust hosted an online learning event where Matter of Focus co-director Sarah Morton and Senior Research Consultant Helen Berry shared key findings. You can watch the learning event below.