The Shape of Links to Come!

Written by: Chris Gourley, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, the ALLIANCE

Published: 11/03/2014

The road ahead.....

The first few days in most new jobs usually stimulates a range of thoughts and feelings. That has certainly been the case over the past week. I’m Chris Gourley, recently in post as the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for the Programme.

My role will be focussed on working with the rest of the team to implement an action research methodology that supports us to better understand exactly what we are doing as we roll out this ambitious project, identifying success factors and areas for refinement. Designing data systems for collecting diverse information and supporting the team in the collection of this will also be a major part of my work over the next two years. This will serve both in house purposes as well as working in tandem with the in-depth external evaluation that will be undertaken.

The first week involved me and the seven (also) newly appointed Community Links Practitioners embarking on an induction programme that so far has been both thought provoking and inspiring. With such a size of team beginning at the same time there was a novel sense of ‘first day at school’ sentiment in the air, though as we all quickly became well acquainted with each other this morphed into a real excitement associated with embarking on a new initiative at the outset and playing a part in shaping something.

Through various activities to date we have, amongst other things, gained a deeper understanding of the links approach that we are aiming to implement, an awareness of the many considerations with regard to the settings we will be doing so within, i.e. ‘GP land’ and been introduced to the wellbeing support structure in place for the practitioners, which will be provided by SAMH. We also met other professionals working in the field at a community asset mapping day at The Lighthouse and are beginning to get a feel for how our work will fit with and build on other ongoing work, including many of the other great projects underway here at The ALLIANCE.

As we begin to map out our work plans for the months ahead the non-proscriptive, flexible approach inherent within the programme is apparent and we can see that establishing mechanisms for sharing learning between experiences in each of the different practice communities will be vital.

Similarly, the range of complementary skills held across the team will be a massive asset as the project evolves towards engendering greater understanding of the adoption of a links approach and ensuring that this early sense of excitement leads to one of satisfaction at much measurable impact and useful learning to come.

Looking forward to the exciting journey ahead!


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