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Self-health phase 2 -Brighton and Hove Friends Centre

This page provides further information about Self Health, the Brighton and Hove research project, part of the Adult and Community Learning Mental Health Research Project 2015-2017.  You can find out more about the other projects taking part by following this link. 

For background information about Self Health please follow the links at the bottom of this page.

Phase 2

In Phase 2 we were set a target to recruit and retain 178 learners.  We were placed in Group B – delivering general adult community learning courses to those with mild to moderate mental health challenges.  From Phase 1 we knew that retention had been low and only around 50% of those who came to IAG then attended and completed their courses.  Some of the issues surrounding the low retention had been resolved with better marketing information and clearer guidance given to potential research volunteers so they knew what was expected of them and had a better understanding of the research project. 

Our expectation for learners in phase 2 was that 75% of learners would complete courses and provide us with a measure of distance in mental health scores. As such, we planned to deliver 30 courses of 15 hours and 12 top up courses.  We set the maximum learner numbers to 8, but allowed this to be increased, in agreement with tutors and course providers.  We anticipated that of the 30 courses of 15 hours, we would recruit 240 learners and retain 180 of them.  Courses were to be planned on a termly basis, so we could extend /reduce our offer in response to recruitment levels over the year.

In the autumn term we planned to deliver 19 courses across 6 providers: Friends Centre, The Bridge, MindOut, Portslade Aldridge Community Academy (PACA) Adult Learning, Whitehawk Inn and Varndean College.  13 of these courses were 15 hours in length and 6 of them were top up courses for returning learners from Phase 1.  Learners on top up courses would not count towards our target number of 178 but were still important for us, to learn from those who had previously attended courses, about the impact of our courses on their mental wellbeing.  Of the 13 longer courses planned, we estimated that we would recruit 104 learners and retain 78.

Due to low enrolments we cancelled 2 of the top up courses which didn’t attract any learners.  We cancelled 5 other 15 hour courses which only attracted between 0 and 3 learners.  This was rather disappointing as many of these courses had been popular in Phase 1.

From the courses which ran, we collected 14 data sets from top up courses and 40 data sets from the 15 hour courses. At this point we had achieved 30% of our target number of completed data sets but only 69% of our delivery plan for the autumn term.  We needed to make up the 31% of courses which didn’t run and improve retention on our courses.  Although we wanted to deliver courses which were accessible to all, including those who work, we found that those courses which ran in the evening were those which had the lowest retention.  For future courses to ensure better retention we would need to consider what type of courses were offered, if any, in the evening.

Read some of our case studies below

Made with Padlet

For the spring term we offered 8 courses at three of our providers: Friends Centre, Varndean College and Portslade Aldridge Community Academy (PACA) Adult Learning.  We hoped to pick up more enrolments from PACA in the west of the city, as the number of learners so far from this area was low.  Of those 8 courses, we anticipated that we would attract at least 64 learners and result in 48 completed data sets.

Unfortunately 3 of the courses were cancelled due to low enrolments and overall we attracted only 34 learners (53% of our delivery plan for this term).  We have retained 75% of our learners and have 25 completed data sets for this term.  This brings our total of completed data sets to 79 (44% of our target.)

Learner Feedback

Read some of our learner feedback below.

Made with Padlet

For the summer term we will be delivering all IAG and courses in house.  Our courses will be running at our two Friends Centre sites in central Brighton.  We have delivered 6000 brochures across the city and are marketing through Facebook, emails and by post.  We have 12 courses available and 4 top up workshops.  We are offering a number of courses which we haven’t yet tried, including crochet, machine sewing and creative writing. 

Our aim is to reach 96 learners and we hope to retain all of them.  It is more likely we will retain 72 of them (75% of those enrolling) and achieve 85% of our overall target for completed data sets. 

So far we have completed 32 IAGs for the new courses and have a further 34 IAG sessions booked for this month.  6 of our courses are already full and we have started waiting lists with the hope of running additional courses in sewing and confidence building.  We will be calling and sending out reminders via text to ensure all these potential research volunteers will be attending their IAG session.  Once courses start we will send out further reminders to ensure high attendance numbers and retention on all our courses.

Information on our current courses can be found on the community learning mental health research offers page or on our website.


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