As a small organisation with a big reach, it’s important that we at Engage Liverpool takes steps to measure the impact of our work, so we can identify areas for improvement, or new opportunities to fulfil our Strategic Aims.

It’s for this reason that we hand out feedback forms at all of our events. These forms help us understand how wide Engage’s geographical reach is, as well as what our attendees think of the events we put on, and what we could improve in the future.

We’ve tried hard to keep our forms short and effective, and we’re incredibly grateful to all of the wonderful people who took the time to fill one out and hand it in at the end of our 2019 seminar events.

2019 “Playing Our Part in the Liverpool City Region” seminar series

Our October 2019 seminar series set out to explore three hot topics amongst our member base, and Liverpool residents in general: first, the place of Cycling and Walking in the city; second, the seeming proliferation of homelessness and rough-sleeping; and third, the tensions around local governance and devolution.

Our impressive speaker list included specialists from across Europe and the UK, as well as the relevant portfolio holders from the Liverpool Combined Authority, who helped us investigate how the city of Liverpool compare in these three problem areas – and compare not only with other initiatives around the world, but with the other boroughs in the Liverpool City Region.

The seminar series attracted over 220 attendees from across not only the Liverpool city centre and waterfront, but the wider city region, and neighbouring areas including Manchester, Wigan, and North Wales.

Approximately 70% of attendees filled in a feedback form, and about 75% of them provided a full postcode in their response, meaning we can show the locations of a fairly representative sample of 50% of our total attendees:

And a closer view, showing the spread of attendees from across Liverpool:

(In both of these maps, the orange, green, and purple dots represent the Cycling, Homelessness, and Governance seminars, in that order.)

As well as gathering location data, our feedback forms help us find out what attendees thought of the event. For example, our Cycling & Walking event, with CEO of Danish Cyclists’ Federation, Klaus Bondham:

  • Great event and talks – would be good to have more workshops and discussions
  • That was great! Always great seminars and speakers
  • Keep going. We need this open meetings.
  • Glad I attended, I learned something tonight
  • Next time please also invite police / british transport police

Our Homelessness & Rough-sleeping event, with Juha Kahila, Project Coordinator at Y-Foundation, Finland:

  • Keep up the good work. Right approach, right message, right on!
  • (refering to our policy of 50% female questions in the Q&A session:) Not everyone is male/female, but the balance is brilliant
  • Great event, and excellent speakers
  • Very informative and affordable
  • Sharing presentation as copy to take would be good
  • Engage’s offer seems unique and vital in the city right now. Well done!

And our Governance & Devolution seminar, with Prof Philip McCann of Sheffield University:

  • Well done. Prof McCann’s material was astonishing. How little we know!
  • Needed more time for comments/discussion at the end. And to involve the two local speakers “on the side”
  • Great event, great speakers, thanks for organising
  • Really good, high quality event. Thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a lot
  • Keep up the great work. Make the event 30 mins longer for more questions.

All of the constructive feedback, especially on aspects you felt we could do better, has been incredibly useful in the board meetings we’ve had since these seminars ended – and we’re looking at ways to incorporate some changes into our upcoming Tourism seminar series in 2020.

As well as the free-form comments, we collect four small pieces of information that help us measure how our events are achieving our strategic aims, and how many new people we’re reaching. Here’s this year’s breakdown, along with a comparison to the average from our 2018 series.

Cycling & Walking Homelessness & Rough-sleeping Governance & Devolution 2018 seminars
“I learned something I didn’t know before” 82% 94% 97% 97%
“I met someone I didn’t know before” 82% 85% 86% 90%
“I would come to an event like this again” 93% 98% 95% 99%
“I have been to an Engage Liverpool event before” 50% 47% 62% 76%

We are especially excited to see that our proportion of first-time Engage event attendees was much higher this year than last year – we worked hard this year to promote the seminar series to a wider range of residents and local service users, and the unusual topic selection likely also helped us break out of our usual bubble.

It looks like attendees felt they learned slightly less at the Cycling event – most likely because the event attracted a crowd that was already well clued up on the benefits of cycling for health and wellbeing, and the challenges that cyclists face in the city region – as the energetic Q&A session after the seminar showed.

Overall the engagement figures were slightly lower than in 2018, but still well within the margin of error for a sample of roughly 50% of attendees. We’re still very happy that over 90% of attendees would come to one of our events again, and over 80% met somebody new at the events, which is all part of Engage Liverpool’s goal to introduce residents to their neighbours, and start conversations across neighbourhood boundaries.

We look forward to revisiting these figures for our 2020 seminar series!