Evaluating the work of a community café́ in a town in the south east of England: Reflections on methods, process and results
Kaduskar S., Boaz A., Dowler E., Meyrick J., Rayner M.
This paper presents the results of an evaluation of a community café. The evaluation focused on whether the café met its own aims. It involved short structured interviews with 115 customers of the café, in-depth interviews with customers and volunteer staff, and a focus group with all those involved in the day-to-day running of the café. The evaluation showed that the café achieved its aim of providing a meeting place for people who lived locally. The research could not determine whether the café was successful in its aim of providing cheap, good-quality food because of difficulties in defining the term 'quality'. This paper also reflects upon the process of negotiating and carrying out an evaluation of the café over a nine-month period. It describes the difficulties in defining the aims of a community café and of negotiating shared aims for an evaluation. This evaluation forms part of a larger research project involving three community cafés in a town in the South East of England, which aims to contribute to the development of appropriate research methods for the evaluation of community-based initiatives which are likely to have an impact on health.