Market Research and Evaluation

YMCA Lakeside is one of the largest outdoor education centres in Europe, located on the banks of Lake Windermere in Cumbria.

The Brief

Having taken over YMCA Lakeside, one of the largest outdoor education centres in Europe, Fylde Coast YMCA asked Hitch to provide market research to support their redevelopment of the centre. They aimed to increase financial support by bringing the centre to life in the hearts and minds of those people and organisations that had the potential to provide funds directly, or influence funding decisions.

The Approach

We carried out a range of data gathering approaches to inform and direct a narrative focusing on the impact the centre and its facilities have on the young people. This included surveys, interviews, and focus group sessions, capturing the baseline measures of wellbeing, confidence, personal goals, and self-perception. Follow-up surveys were undertaken at a later date in order to track changes over time and to discover the impact that Lakeside had on the young people’s attitudes toward new challenges.

The Results

gained confidence
more motivated
developed new skills

A follow-up survey was taken 4 weeks after completion of the course with all the young people, replicating the baseline measure in order to track changes over time. There were some great headline findings that helped build a compelling narrative that has, up until this point, helped the YMCA raise £6m towards the build of the new outdoor facility. For example:

  • 93% of Young People said that their confidence had increased after visiting YMCA National Centre Lakeside.

  • 90% of young people said that visiting Lakeside had made them more confident to try new things.

  • 80% agreed that they were generally much more motivated.

  • 91% of young people have developed new skills, so are more confident about taking on future challenges.

  • Attending Lakeside has resulted in young people feeling more confident about getting a job or going on to higher education because they have developed new skills (82%).

“The quality of the market research that Hitch undertook for us was first class, meeting all our expectations. Gary and the team are very knowledgeable and passionate about their work and brought a lot of energy to the project to ensure that we got the depth of qualitative data we needed. Their professional but flexible approach was appreciated and very much made it feel as though we were all part of one big team.”
- Director of Development and Quality, Fylde Coast YMCA


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