Luton Roma Trust supports the Roma community in Luton to integrate in a holistic way of life in the UK. With lived experience as its heart, the organisation works with the community to access accommodation, education, welfare, and employment. In partnership with statutory agencies, Luton Roma Trust helps the local Roma community, many of whom have migrated to the UK in recent years, to rebuild their lives.
When Luton Roma Trust was on-boarded to CSC’s Steps to Recovery initiative in July, their biggest challenge was to strengthen their organisational governance and communications, and to secure core funding to expand capacity to respond to the day-today needs of families, with plans to increase staff members and create a community drop-in centre.
After our initial consultation, we agreed on a five-point action checklist to support Luton Roma Trust with its long-term sustainability:
1. Governance support
We carried out an in-depth organisational strengths review and write up, generating recommendations to develop long-term sustainability and building capacity. We also provided HR, funding and strategic advice, (e.g. managing staffing difficulties; buying in HR expertise).
2. Website update
Luton Roma Trust’s website has not been updated since it was first set up, and it was difficult to manage for the staff with limited capacity, and it had fallen behind on regular updates. We helped to refresh the website by transferring it to a more user-friendly platform, and re-structured content to be more concise and accessible, developing new copy where relevant. The organisation is now in the process of transferring from the old to the new website.
3. Digital upskilling and communications
Along with setting up the new website, we provided digital training to staff at Luton Roma Trust so they are able to manage and update the site. We also provided advice on streamlining their digital communications.
4. External evaluation framework
Luton Roma Trust is a recipient of a three-year National Lottery Community Fund grant, and as this grant period comes to an end, they are seeking to conduct an external evaluation to demonstrate their value and impact, and to secure more funding. CSC helped to develop a framework for this evaluation project that considers the particular context of Luton Roma Trust in the community and working effectively with the Roma community.
5. Reviewing the ’employee handbook’
We reviewed Luton Roma Trust’s employee handbook and provided advice on how they could improve their organisation’s policies and procedures.
Luton Roma Trust Impact Evaluation
As we neared the end of our time working with Luton Roma Trust, they commissioned us to conduct the external evaluation to mark the end of their 3-year National Lottery Community Fund grant, based on the framework that we designed as a part of their Steps to Recovery support.
CSC designed the relevant research materials for this exercise, oriented around measuring the impact of Luton Roma Trust’s services and demonstrating their achievements in improving outcomes for the Roma community in Luton. This process is being supervised by Professor Margaret Greenfields (Buckingham New University), who has experience working with GTR communities for over 30 years.
We are also working on the project with a Romanian speaking community researcher to engage with the Roma community, supporting with conducting surveys and one-to-one interviews to understand their needs, challenges, and the impact of Luton Roma Trust on beneficiaries, particularly on their independence.
Francesca, Director of CSC comments:
“Civil Society Consulting are proud to be working with Luton Roma Trust to evaluate the impact of their important work, using our expertise working with marginalised communities. We believe this is an important project to not only to highlight the importance of grassroots organisations working with Roma communities, but also to bring to light the critical challenges Roma communities are Facing, not just in Luton, but across the UK.”