South West Uplands Initiative (SWUI) project evaluation

The SWUI comprises three separate projects: the Bodmin Moor Livestock Initiative, the Dartmoor Hill Farm Project, and the Exmoor Hill Farm Project. The SWUI was created to provide the farming community with the support it requires to access available through Axis I and III of the Rural Development Programme for England with the aim or improving the long-term profitability and sustainability of livestock producers in the project areas.

The research assessed the three projects’ effectiveness against their stated aims and objectives. The research also identified learning points and made recommendations to improve the delivery and effectiveness of the approach on an annual basis as well as informing any similar future schemes.   An active social learning approach was adopted for this project in order to maximize the benefits of the evaluation process.

The evaluation was conducted in three phases over a 31-month period:  

  • Phase 1 – scoping and familiarisation with existing data and data sources.
  • Phase 2 – data collection and analysis.
  • Phase 3 – continuous evaluation.

A range of different research techniques were used, including document analysis, telephone surveys, face to face interviews, focus groups and workshops. Participants in the research included farmers, project delivery staff, local stakeholders and industry representatives.

The project leader was Peter Gaskell with contributions from Jane Mills, Nick Lewis, Chris Short, Carol Kambites (all CCRI) and Martin Turner. The project was completed in 2013.