The short-term evaluation of BOUNCEUp has shown that the present project has been well appraised by the majority of participants in all ten pilot cities, but that certain deficiencies occur in the practical implementation of the BOUNCE tools.
Moreover, the training outline itself is widely appreciated as it provides participants with practical tools to work with youngsters on an early preventive level. The positive point of view and the broadly applicable exercises are listed as strengths of the programme. Although confusion remains over the link with radicalisation and the precise definition of resilience, overall, theory and concepts are well explained during the training. Most participants gained new knowledge, although it must be noted that a fourth of them expressed to have known the majority of the working methods (exercises) of the BOUNCE tools. Until now, only a minority of participants has organised own BOUNCEYoung or BOUNCEAlong actions. It must be evaluated why practical implementation has been so low.
In order to situate BOUNCE within a wider policy agenda of a city, clarifying the working vision of the BOUNCE programme is an absolute requirement. Notwithstanding its original link met with radicalisation, it seems uncomfortable to keep framing BOUNCE as a programme to primarily prevent radicalisation. Not only has this led to much confusion among participants, it might also undermine the positive effects of BOUNCE to simply raise youth wellbeing and to prevent a much broader scope of internalising and externalising conditions.
This paper has suggested a seven-step implementation support model, each reflecting a necessary component of a durable BOUNCE strategy. Several recommendations can be made to facilitate this implementation strategy:
* First of all, evaluation requires not only clear goals, but also a registration instrument, which allows to evaluate the project. Registration is highly needed to evaluate BOUNCE, and must be facilitated at all levels. Cities should be encouraged to register all BOUNCE actions on their processes, outputs and outcomes. One way to do this is by creating a common platform to exchange ideas and outcome data of BOUNCE actions. Registration should be integrated into the training, so that all trainers and participants remain motivated to fill out registration forms.
* Implementation support should start before the training starts, by selecting adequate pilot cities, and by communicating clearly about the expected commitment of the city, its prevention services and all relevant stakeholders. BOUNCE trainers may organise a meeting with local stakeholders to explain the approach of BOUNCE. It is recommended to convince the managerial level first, and only once they are on board, select youth workers as participants of the training. A city’s decision to participate should then also be linked to these preconditions of commitment.
* Although structural context factors are not for the BOUNCE trainers to influence, it may be recommendable to select those cities with more possibilities for multi-agency (integral) implementation. This may be reflected in high stability at the policy level, high knowledge-exchange of youth work and high cooperation between city services. Again, such expectations for cities should be clearly communicated in advance to all cities.
* Selected cities should aim to embed BOUNCE into local prevention strategies, develop a clear action plan and set measurable objectives for their local version of BOUNCE. This means that a city may choose to apply BOUNCE as a preventive tool against for example radicalisation, but just as well as a general tool to promote wellbeing. The chosen objectives will define who should be included in the training as a participant.
* It is recommended to select a responsible coordinator for the BOUNCE programme in each city, before the project starts. This coordinator will facilitate the practical execution of the BOUNCE project, keep the participants’ network informed and coordinate the follow-up evaluations of the project.
* The facilitator may also be the responsible actor for participant selection, and should aim to include multiple stakeholders from the city. Guidelines for selection are to select first-line practitioners (1) who are experienced with (group-based) youth work; (2) who have an opportunity in their jobs to spread (one of) the BOUNCE tools; (3) who are open for the positive, broad, preventive and integral working vision of BOUNCE.
* Whereas the BOUNCEUp training outline is only extensively developed, this is not the case for its subsequent implementation support days. For example, the first training thoroughly covered the full BOUNCEYoung programme, but the BOUNCEAlong programme is only covered during the implementation support days and does not consist of a similar well-founded training outline. Trainers have expressed that BOUNCEAlong is too loosely covered and that its execution is left too much open to the participants.
* The three days of implementation support were generally used to clarify pending questions and to try-out BOUNCEYoung with a local group of youngsters. This allowed for a minimal form of coaching-on-the-job by the BOUNCE trainers and it pushed hesitative participants to start working with the tools. For some, this overcame doubts of their own capabilities to work with BOUNCE. However, to guarantee real programme integrity of the BOUNCE tools and to evaluate the process patterns of subsequent actions, further supervision is needed and on a much longer term than the current project allowed for. Another suggestion is to give BOUNCE trainings always in pairs of two trainers, as a means to evaluate their peers and maintain sufficient programme integrity.
* All implemented BOUNCE actions should be evaluated on their process and outcome patterns. Such evaluation is ideally conducted by an independent reviewer, but may also be conducted by the city’s in-house evaluation office. Outcome data on BOUNCEYoung and BOUNCEAlong actions in the city may further inform decision-making upon prevention policies. In addition, more extensive research is needed to measure the long-term outcomes of all three BOUNCE tools and to increase academic knowledge about the utility of resilience trainings. As any social prevention tool, the effects of BOUNCE will depend on the intensity and frequency of the trainings. A lack of immediate effects does not mean that the training itself is ineffective, however, its outcomes should be evaluated continuously to inform future trainings.
* Findings from local BOUNCE actions should be shared with other cities to increase the visibility of BOUNCE, to enhance knowledge-exchange and to find more promising practices of resilience trainings. A sharepoint website and intranet is planned to be made by the programme managers in order to exchange action plans and inspire other participants to take action. This website may also operate as a platform for registration of all local actions, and thus facilitate the further evaluation of the BOUNCE tools.