Impact Arts Fab Pad Project

Fab Pad is a programme run by Impact Arts – a national community arts organisation. The main aim of Impact Arts is to use the arts as a catalyst for positive lasting change in people’s lives. The SROI report evaluated the outcomes from the last year of a three-year funded programme. Assurance TBC.


In 2007, a Social Return on Investment report on the Fab Pad programme was produced. It is now being re-written to comply with the new SROI Guide, published in May 2009.

Fab Pad is a programme run by Impact Arts. Impact Arts is a national community arts organisation. The main aim of Impact Arts is to use the arts as a catalyst for positive lasting change in people’s lives.

The Fab Pad concept was developed to work with vulnerable people at a vital stage in their progression out of a chaotic lifestyle – when they take on a tenancy. Fab Pad participants engage in a programme of arts, design and practical skills training designed to help them turn their house into a home. It then supports them to take up other opportunities in education, training and employment, engage in volunteering and develop new social networks.

The North Ayrshire Fab Pad project was the subject of this study. It was funded by Communities Scotland, North Ayrshire Council and North Ayrshire Community Planning Partnership, and was been actively supported by Cunninghame Housing Association.

Scope and Stakeholders

The study was an evaluation of the outcomes from the third year of a three-year funded programme (2006/07). Each Fab Pad programme is a self-contained activity.

The stakeholders of Fab Pad range from internal ones – the participants, the staff and tutors involved in Fab Pad – to families, external funders, landlords such as Cunninghame Housing Association, agencies that refer clients to Fab Pad for support, and to government and wider society.

The study engaged with a range of stakeholders in developing the impact map. The participants gave a wealth of information through questionnaire surveys and workshops, as well as representing the changes to their lives through art works. The identification of indicators and proxies to value change was partly done with the Fab Pad participants, staff and tutors.

Other stakeholders such as the funders and other local partner agencies or referrals agencies were interviewed and outcomes, indicators and proxies discussed for them. A few of the family members of Fab Pad participants were also interviewed, to discuss what was changing for them as a result of their relatives engaging with Fab Pad.

Outcomes and evidence

The impact map constructed for North Ayrshire Fab Pad showed that a range of changes were being experienced by different stakeholders.

Fab Padders reported changes in confidence and self-esteem, increased income from employment gained and better debt management, better physical and mental health, less chaotic lifestyles and new networks of friends and others who were supportive and stable, rather than involved in destructive behaviour. They also reported having better relationships with their family and with their children. Overall, they reported making far more constructive use of their time now, spending far more of their time with family, partners and friends and they had also started volunteering, going to the gym and had taken up new hobbies.

What was making the difference for participants was the support from Fab Pad staff, the opportunity to gain new skills and meet new people who were a positive influence on them, and the opportunity to regain some control over their lives.

From the perspective of statutory agencies and landlords, the outcomes were reduced homelessness and more people in stable tenancies, providing more support to vulnerable people, improving outcomes on training, Further Education participation and employment, reducing anti-social behaviour and the incidence of substance misuse, reducing debt problems and reducing the numbers of young people in the area who are not in education, training or employment. For participants who had not yet moved on into employment or Further Education, the study found that the rest regarded themselves as much more employable.


To calculate the value of outcomes factors such as a deadweight and attribution have to be taken into account.

For most outcomes, there was benchmarking information available to assess what might have happened anyway.

Attribution was more difficult to ascertain. Participants reported that the outcomes being achieved were as a result of Fab Pad, but the sensitivity analysis looked at the implications of assuming a higher level of influence from external factors in generating the outcomes.

The investment in the activity

The investment included the funding invested in Fab Pad, and the additional childcare costs needed to enable parents to engage with the programme.

Social return calculation and sensitivity analysis

Overall, the results suggested that for every £1 that has been invested in the North Ayrshire Fab Pad project, a social return on investment of £8.38 has been realised. The added value per participant was found to be £19,238.

The payback period for the investment was found to be four months.

The sensitivity analysis focused on varying the assumptions about attribution, as this was the main unknown but possibly significant influence on the results.

This index is likely to change once the report has been updated to comply with the new SROI Guide.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Recommendations for further work by Impact Arts were made:

  • There is a strong business case for landlords to involve Fab Pad in supporting their tenants at the start of their tenancy, as it can now be demonstrated there would be benefits to landlords arising from reduced tenancy turnover and anti-social behaviour, and an increased ability of tenants to meet rental obligations.
  • Include a longer-term follow up of participants, to establish the longer-term outcomes of participants, and determine a more accurate figure for the drop off in the value created.
  • More mapping of the role other support agencies play in creating participant outcomes.
  • Use the experience with this study to include ongoing in-depth interviews with participants and improve the questionnaire used in the light of feedback from this study.

What happened next?

Fab Pad’s funders agreed to offer continued funding in North Ayrshire to support the project for a further three years.

Impact Arts reported that the study had influenced and improved the relationship between the organisation and the local funders. The study was produced at a time when Community Planning Partnerships were beginning to take on joint funding and planning decisions, and could have been a difficult transition period for Fab Pad, but the study was reported to have helped to highlight the significant benefits arising from the programme, leading to continued support.

For Impact Arts as a whole, they have incorporated SROI further into their evaluation processes.

Appendices and further information in the report

The original report contains descriptions of the sources and research for the indicators and financial proxies, and lists all the assumptions made in valuing the outcomes. It contains the responses from stakeholder interviews and case studies of participants.

The report also looked at the social return for the Fab Pad project over the three years’ of initial funding, and the individual returns for each funder.

The report also includes a sample of photographs of the art works produced by participants.

The report will be revised to comply with the SROI Guide, and will then also include an audit trail, and will collate the information and assumptions on indicators, proxies, deductions for deadweight and attribution, duration and drop off into one appendix.