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From Good to Great


We have a catchphrase at Substance – from Good to Great. Inspired by Jim Collins business bible of the same name, the phrase suggests aspiration, growth and a continual quest for improvement.

It sums up the approach we take to running our own company and the approach we take when working with other organisations who want to deliver and measure social value.=

We have worked with organisations who have been using sport and physical activity to deliver social change for decades.

When we set up the organisation back in 2005, we became the evaluation partner for the Positive Futures. The Home Office programme was designed to increase participation in sport, reduce youth crime, anti-social behaviour and substance misuse. Its objective was to engage marginalised young people, help build mutually trusting and respectful relationships and provide gateways to alternative lifestyles.

Each of the organisations delivering the programme were ‘good’ at what they did when they started delivering the programme and quickly became skilled at operating across the sport, criminal justice, community and youth work sectors. They quickly learned that their front-line staff required the right kind of life skills and competencies to engage the ‘right’ young people and that the facilities, the timings and structure of sport and non-sport sessions were critical to delivering good outcomes.

Although central government funding for the programme ended in 2010 we continued to work with and support many of these organisations, such as North Liverpool Positive Futures, Trelya, Youth Moves and the Positive Youth Foundation. We are well placed to comment on why we think they are now ‘great’ and have become a critical component of the prevention and early intervention system locally. And what key characteristics do these organisations have in common?

  • A clear understanding of purpose
  • A clear understanding of their market and their needs
  • Strong leadership
  • A skilled, committed, qualified and engaged workforce
  • Effective cross-sector partnerships
  • Embedded evaluation strategies, good insight and measurement tools which improve practice

We’re delighted to sponsor the Sport and Recreation Alliance’s Added Social Value Award to celebrate other great clubs, organisations or groups that work to improve lives and make their communities safer and stronger.

There are still a few days left to apply for the award. Find out more by clicking on this link.