Everyday cares: Daily centres in Italy and the UK

Charities working to improve children’s well-being can struggle to measure the difference they are making. With this is mind, Everyday cares contains a framework that daily centres in Italy, and similar charities elsewhere, can use to assess whether they are likely to be successful.

A daily centre is a place where children, many of whom struggle at school or have poor home lives, go on a regular basis to take part in supervised activities, ranging from homework help to sports and drama.

As well as the framework, the report suggests what data charities could collect to see whether they are having an impact on children’s well-being and other important aspects of their lives.

The research, carried out for and in collaboration with Fondazione Oliver Twist Onlus, an Italian grant-maker, compares daily centres in Italy with similar charities in the UK. The report contains a number of examples of particularly innovative and effective approaches to allow charities in both countries to learn from each other.

Interesting findings from the report include:

  • UK charities see boosted self-esteem as key to having happier children. While this is important, they could draw valuable lessons from Italy, where relationships with family and friends are given more emphasis.
  • Charities in Italy look to tackle immediate problems—for example, providing a child at risk with a safe place to go after school. In contrast, those in the UK look to create longer-term impact and think more about how they could help children succeed in the future.
  • Charities in both countries fail to ask children themselves how happy they feel as a result of participating. Although some efforts are made to talk to schools or social services, there is little evidence overall of whether these charities help children get on better at school, with their families and in their local communities.

 Both countries could definitely learn from each other, particularly once they have a better understanding of exactly what aspects of their work make them most effective in improving children’s lives.

Sarah Keen, Quantative analyst