The UPBEAT Analysis2 was devised by the University of Salford to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of community projects and determine the levels of engagement of the project with their community. Engagement can be considered in terms of criteria such as development of talent, developing partnerships, seeking solutions to problems and the growth of business acumen.
Assessment of a project is based on the extent of increase to the ‘capitals’ of social networking (SNC), improved individual performance (IPC), business development (BC) and foresight enabling (FEC), which can be considered as the ability to adapt and adjust to change. There are 6 levels of engagement to attain and the case study project attained levels 2 and 3 (See Fig. 1). Level 1 is achieving recognition and initiation (awareness of basic requirements of the client group); Level 2 – capability building (developing skills) and level 3 (focused professional competence).
The project has improved the skill levels of participants (IPC), enabled them to grow social and supportive networks (SNC) via the WhatsApp groups, encouraged participants to consider setting up their own business (BC), or social enterprise, or seek employment or volunteering opportunities, and to accept and manage their own change and changing circumstances (FEC).
The UPBEAT Matrix was developed for use by Salford and other universities (Powell, 2010) but is applicable to any community-based project and is an effective tool for assessment of levels of community and individual engagement.