The starting point for a project to tackle social exclusion is identifying the needs of the target group in your community. You may have a specific set of individuals who your project will be for, a specific group or it may be a project for the whole community. Whether individuals, groups or the community, NAOMIE is a systematic planning framework that is easy to follow and effective in practice. Several local authorities, the Scout movement and many voluntary agencies use NAOMIE to ensure they plan effectively.
One particular means of identifying Needs is to undertake a questionnaire. An example is given here and can be used as a template or amended. It was originally developed by the North Manchester Jewish Youth Project and I have included and extract from their second report, Through New Eyes and the whole of their original report, Through Their Eyes, which are useful to see how to present results.
Another way of looking at Needs is as risk and protective factors. This approach is pioneered by Communities That Care (CtC), who undertake prevention programmes throughout the UK aiming to tackle and reduce Youth crime and anti-social behaviour; Drug (including alcohol) abuse; School failure and School age pregnancy.
CtC have a standardised questionnaire through which they profile the risk and protective factors of young people across an area.
If looking at needs from an individual perspective, the Connexions Assessment Profile is an excellent basis to work from. The Connexions Techniques and Tools practice guide gives more information on practical working with young people.
You should be clear that a questionnaire is only one way of identifying needs. Background research is now an expectation from many funders and local strategic partnerships with the government’s neighbourhood statistics website an excellent source for gathering this data.
Just as important in conducting your needs analysis are other methods such as observation, group workshops and evaluations, which are described further within NAOMIE.
The NAOMIE Powerpoint presentation includes a voice over to provide extra information about the framework.
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