Research & Expertise
Research and evaluation is at the heart of Changing Lives’ practice. You can find several examples of our published research covering a range of topics related to homelessness, women, criminal justice, sexual exploitation and more below.
Please note reports dating back prior to November 2013 refer to Changing Lives by our former names The Cyrenians or Tyneside Cyrenians.
Changing Lives Impact Report 2016
It is only right that we celebrate the lives of the men, women and children we work with.
Their lives have gone down a path no one would have chosen and they have shown great courage and dignity to seek the help that they need. Government spending cuts have had a great impact on our clients yet they remain resilient, generous and unfailingly honest.
We are committed to long term solutions for the people we work with and developing strategies that support our staff to continue to work with people who use our services.
Our internal quality audit of services is now well established, with monthly audits of individual projects identifying strengths, good practice and areas for improvement.
Last year we worked with over 16,000 people with a variety of different needs – a 25% increase on the previous year. Nearly 60% of the people we work with are female and just under 700 are under the age of 18. That is a huge strategic change for the charity, although it is one that we have planned for over the last five years.
Changing Lives can only ‘change lives’ with our committed and skilled work force, our dedicated volunteers, partners and commissioners. To everyone we say a huge thank you.
‘The type of girl that would do that’ – peer-led research into sex work in Durham and Darlington
This study sets out to understand the nature of sex work in County Durham and Darlington, and to examine interactions between sex workers and the services that they are likely to come into contact with. The study used the successful, peer-led methodology of Changing Lives’ Girls Are Proud (GAP) project, to uncover truths about the lived experiences of sex workers that operate in County Durham and Darlington. The research behind this report took place in 2015.
Please note, this report contains information of an adult nature and is recommended for over 18’s only.
‘Hybrid: Get To Know Me Before I Get To Know You’
The three workshops in this toolkit have been developed with two groups of professionals. The overall shape of each workshop has been led by an experienced teacher, together with input and advice from other experienced educators. Like most teachers, safeguarding is a regular aspect of our contributor, as his role as a teacher and makes up part of his experience. However, like most teachers, he does not claim to be an expert in safeguarding.This is where the second group of professionals comes in. Each safeguarding principle comes directly from safeguarding professionals from Changing Lives and NWG, as well as an ex-policewoman who is now a family liaison officer in a secondary school.
Each of the three workshops explores a different safeguarding principle and are designed to be used in schools or other educational institutions.
- explores appropriate and inappropriate boundaries and is a discussion based workshop
- explores power looking at different techniques that a groomer might use as well as exploring how to defend against them. This workshop is a video based workshop
- explores spotting the signs that someone is in an abusive relationship. This workshop is worksheet based
Each workshop comes with an alternate suggestion to the tasks provided to incorporate drama into the learning.
A fresh approach to homelessness: lessons from the United States
Changing Lives’ Assertive Outreach worker, John Cassap, went on a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowship to New Orleans and New York in 2016. The aim of his Fellowship was to investigate approaches to the homelessness population in the wake of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, and how methods adopted by American services could be replicated to benefit Changing Lives’ service users in Sunderland, where John is based.
Upon his return and as part of his Fellowship, John has collated his findings and recommendations for colleagues and peers and other interested organisations across the region and wider community. You can download it here:
Key facts about Oaktrees and treatment in Gateshead
The project opened in 2009 and was the first of its kind in the North East. It has gone on to be replicated in 4 other places due to its success.
A life mapped out national conference resources
Changing Lives, in partnership with a range of specialist agencies and organisations, has led ground-breaking research on long-term homelessness in the UK. The research shows that the Housing First approach in tackling long-term homelessness in England, can potentially reduce the number of people who are homeless, whilst providing significant cost savings.
Novel Psychoactive Substances / ‘Legal Highs’ (2014)
This study was undertaken by Soundingboard Research & Consultancy and was commissioned by Changing Lives to gain a better understanding of the use of Novel Psychoactive Substances (‘legal highs’) amongst individuals accessing a number of its services.
'Investigating alternative approaches to multiple complex needs in homelessness populations'
Changing Lives ACE (Adults facing Chronic Exclusion) Project Worker, Matthew Bower, went on a four-week Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowship to Australia in 2013. The aim of his Fellowship was to investigate alternative approaches to multiple complex needs in homelessness populations and other related areas.
Upon his return and as part of his Fellowship, Matthew has collated his findings and recommendations for colleagues and peers and other interested organisations across the region and wider community.
Matthew was recently presented with the Wintson Churchill Memorial Trust medallion for his fellowship report. He was also presented with the Viscount De L’Isle award which is given to ‘those who have shown real determination to succeed for the direct benefit of others.’
Big Lottery Next Steps (2012)
In 2012 Changing Lives won funding from the Big Lottery Fund’s Next Steps Programme to support a feasibility study in to the appropriateness of a social impact bond (SIB) for the charity’s women’s offending work. The project produced a functional model against which to test ideas about how a SIB would operate in practice. It also provided a range of transferable lessons about the realities of social investment – where it can work, as well as where it can’t. These two short reports summarise that learning and our top tips.
Male Action Plan
MAP: Exploring the lives of Male Sex Workers in Tyne and Wear
Male Action Project (MAP) operates as part of Changing Lives and works closely with the Girls Are Proud (GAP) project. MAP was equally funded by The Millfield House Foundation and The Northern Rock Foundation.
The project concentrates on the scope, extent and the individual profiles of those engaged in male sex work within Newcastle-upon-Tyne and those who travel within Tyne and Wear. This will in turn provide vital information necessary to present recommendations for policy change.
As a direct result of the work carried out as part of the MAP project, it is now clear that there has been a small scale red light district operating – the difference being that men are soliciting and not women. Kerb crawling also takes place next to the main cruising site in Newcastle, identified as a redlight district, and the same sort of behaviour probably takes place at other sites throughout the North East.
This Summary Report provides information from research and includes future recommendations based on findings.
Please note, the MAP report contains information and images of an adult nature and is recommended for over 18’s only.
Peer: Exploring the lives of sex workers in Tyne and Wear
Developed in partnership with Northumbria University, and funded by the Northern Rock Foundation, the PEER Report builds on the work of Hidden For Survival, Changing Lives 2008 exploration of the experience of sex workers in Tyne and Wear.
The aim of the research was to develop a robust evidence base regarding the lives and experiences of sex workers. Critically, it was peer-led enabling those women with experience of sex work to shape and deliver the research methods and subsequent interviews.
Exploring the different experiences of women involved in opportunistic or survival sex work, and those involved in escorting, alongside the view of stakeholders, PEER outlines a range of recommendations to support the development of policy and practice in this field.
Please note, this report contains information of an adult nature and is recommended for over 18’s only.
Homelessness, Pathways to Exclusion and Opportunities for Intervention
This research examined the origins of poverty and exclusion among a sample of homeless people, funded by the Webb Memorial Trust. The Webb Memorial Trust was established in 1947 as a memorial to the socialist pioneer Beatrice Webb, who undertook studies of the origins of poverty, most notably through the 1909 Minority Report to the Poor Law Commission.
The key finding of the research was that there were two distinct pathways into homelessness, a clearly into one or other of these pathways, they represented a helpful lens through which to examine respondents.
Building Brighter Futures?
The purpose of the review was to explore the work being undertaken by Changing Lives and their partners, including Newcastle Futures, on the Changing Lives Construction Skills Pathway.
The focus of the work was to consult with trainees whilst they were accessing the construction pathway and to explore the views of key stakeholders. The trainees interviewed were part of the first group of individuals to access the 12 week course. Whilst the focus of the review was the construction pathway and the Brighter Futures Construction Skills Training Centre, the intention of the work was to provide recommendations that can be applied, in principle, across all pathways.
Peer Research into the lives of sex workers within Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, South Tyneside and North Tyneside.
The idea for the ‘Hidden for Survival’ peer research emanated from a group of interested professionals working predominantly within the drug field but with a range of backgrounds and experience. It was apparent that there was an increasing amount of anecdotal information being disclosed to professionals about sex work within the Tyne and Wear area. Simultaneously, a qualitative study carried out during 2005 by the Drug Interventions Programme within Government Office North East examined the experiences of women involved in off-street prostitution and drug misuse in the North East. Six in depth interviews were carried out and these identified that in Newcastle and Sunderland sex work was hidden and predominantly ‘off-street’, with the needs of the women largely unacknowledged.
Levelling the Scales
This report looks at the experiences of Changing Lives in employing as staff members those who have accessed its own or similar services in the past. A great deal has been learnt through trial and error. This report identifies how the employment of former or current clients is impacting on the organisation and highlights the benefits as well as the areas of difficulty. It is hoped that it will also contribute to the wider debate that is going on within homelessness organisations, substance misuse services and elsewhere about the employment of former clients.
Subject to Status – Social Exclusion in Newcastle and Gateshead
Subject to Status is a survey of one hundred people in the City of Newcastle who meet the criteria of experiencing chronic social exclusion in their everyday lives. Interviews were carried out in April and May 2008.
Social Exclusion happens when people or places suffer from a series of problems such as unemployment, discrimination, poor skills, low incomes, poor housing, high crime, ill health and family breakdown. When such problems combine they can create a vicious circle.
Virginia House Self Build Economic Cost Benefit Analysis
This report highlights the economic cost benefit achieved by training and then employing three formerly homeless clients who had a range of associated difficulties on the re-building of a hostel for homeless people. The report details their costs to the Criminal Justice System, the National Health Service and the Department of Work and Pensions in the five years leading up to when they began their training, the costs during training and those incurred since being in full time employment. It shows that providing training and work opportunities for those who are marginalized from the labour market saves the public purse significant amounts of money through a reduction in criminal activity, medical interventions and dependency upon benefits.