Cherry Orchards Evaluation

A picture of the Cherry Orchards gardens.

We were invited by Cherry Orchards - a therapeutic community in Bristol for people with mental health problems - to conduct a small scale evaluation of its work and life with the aim of exploring and describing its key therapeutic processes and outcomes from the perspective of its community members.

A researcher was embedded as an observer-participant in the community’s shared life and conducted one-to-one interviews. These interviews included:

  • exploring Cherry Orchards' development
  • therapeutic approaches and structures
  • individual residents' and workers’ experiences

Residents also rated changes in their own support needs since living in the community and therapeutic alliance, using scales specifically designed and adapted for use in this setting. Qualitative and quantitative data were analysed by the research team and findings reflected back for validation with the community. Learning points and recommendations for future development of the community were formulated and a report of this work was published.