“General happiness is a big thing. Overall happiness is the key.” This is a quote from one of the more than 50 parents surveyed as part of recent research into the Social Return on Investment delivered by Cottage by the Sea.

This research, conducted by SVA Consulting and generously funded by The R. E. Ross Trust, involved many hours of conversations with volunteers, staff, Cottage attendees, their families and teachers, as well as hundreds of surveys. The end result was a fascinating report into the social and economic value created as a result of the children’s programs at Cottage by the Sea.

“The Cottage had a substantial impact on the lives of children and youth experiencing disadvantage. The programs allow children and young people to have fun, make new friends, become more confident, broaden their horizons and become inspired.” Reads an excerpt from the report.

Among the conclusions, the report found that “increased confidence is the most valued outcome for children and young people as observed by parents and teachers.”

“It was great to have this confirmed through empirical research,” comments new CEO Adam Wake.  “Our programs staff focus on improving children’s confidence, because that is key to young people returning to their schools and communities with renewed belief in themselves and their ability to get the most out of life.  This is so important to what we want to achieve.  It’s essential the children enjoy themselves while they stay at the Cottage but our greater value is in supporting a long term transformation in young people’s lives.”

SVA Consulting detailed five key insights from their research into the Cottage:

  • Learning from fun is important, and creates significant value for children
  • The impact of the Cottage perseveres beyond the duration of the camps, and can last a lifetime
  • The Cottage’s impact on children is positively compounded with more frequent engagement
  • A child's happiness benefits the whole family
  • The Cottage is an enduring part of the community

 

"Each of these insights validates the work we do day-to-day, but also the role of the Cottage over almost 130 years. We look back on some of the newsletters and publications from early last century and they talk about giving children a chance to enjoy the simple pleasures of play and being a child.  Children, now adults, from as far back as the 1930s have come to visit us, or sent correspondence. They talk about how the Cottage gave them hope, that they felt loved and supported through times that were not so great.  The fact that we’re still here doing essentially the same work validates their experiences.”

As well as qualitative results, the report uses financial proxies to give a monetary value to the social outcomes generated by the children’s programs at Cottage by the Sea: “For every $1 invested in Cottage by the Sea, between $2.50 and $3.80 of social and economic value is created.”  

“This is a remarkable result,” continues Adam. “It means that every dollar someone donates to Cottage by the Sea is more than doubled in the social outcomes for our children. This in turn creates value for the wider community.”

It is important to note that every dollar donated to Cottage by the Sea goes directly to fund children’s programs (unless specified, by the donor for capital works or equipment.) Administration, fundraising and other non-program costs are funded from the proceeds of the Cottage By The Sea Foundation. Investment in the Foundation is independent of fundraising and donations for Cottage programs. This puts the Cottage in a fairly unique position among charities worldwide.

 “The feedback from contemporary participants and families surveyed was overwhelmingly positive,” says Adam. “As well as the raw data, there are so many amazing quotes from the children and their families. It was a struggle to find a favourite but the one below resonates so strongly with the change we hope to create.”

“CBTS has help my young daughter grow into an amazing confident young lady. The challenges and experiences that my daughter has been a part of are things as a family I wouldn’t be able to offer financially. My daughter is now more confident than ever and is on her way to becoming an amazing woman.”

Download a copy of the report.

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