Bringing maritime heritage to life

CS Anchor & Sail_05

The Tall Ship & The GalGael Trust

Evaluation of Anchor & Sail Project

Project Overview

The Anchor & Sail Project was a collaboration between The GalGael Trust and The Tall Ship, aimed at promoting maritime heritage and traditional boat building skills.

Glasgow is known worldwide for its history of shipbuilding on the River Clyde. With many of the docks closed down years ago there was a risk that skills and the heritage of the area were being lost through gentrification and a move to mass housing on old shipbuilding sites.

The project set out to engage the community and encourage those who traditionally would be least likely to get involved in this sector.

This resulted in more females and young people participating than the organisations ever expected.

Some highlights of the project included:

  • Having the first City & Guilds qualifications in Boatbuilding being completed in Scotland
  • Holding the first maritime-based festival, attracting over 5,800 attendees
  • Building and launching new boats onto the River Clyde, bringing a new slant on the Clyde Built heritage stamp
  • Creating wider impact on participants’ lives than simply learning new skills and learning about maritime heritage

What was our involvement?

Taylor Nisbet was approached to complete an independent evaluation of the Anchor & Sail project. This was a requirement of the funding received from Heritage Lottery and Historic Environment Scotland.

So it wasn’t just a tick box exercise for funding, we worked with the Anchor & Sail management team to understand how the evaluation would be useful long term for both partner organisations.

Our aim was to establish how successful the project was in achieving its aims and objectives. We then identified where improvements could be made for future projects and understand how individuals were impacted.

Our approach to the evaluation

Anchor & Sail had been running for almost three years and was approaching its end when we got involved. From the start, the team had set out their planned outcomes and activities to be delivered, to achieve the project objectives.

To get a true reflection of their successes, we used a number of tools to gather information:

  • Onsite visits – Anchor & Sail took place at two sites within the city – GalGael Trust based in Ibrox and The Tall Ship based in Finnieston. Both had different ways of working and it was important to get a full understanding of how people were participating and benefiting from the project.
  • Case study interviews – The term interview sounds pretty formal but it’s really just having a chat! The questions were structured to get open responses and really understand each person’s reasons for involvement. The information captured included what they enjoyed, what they would change and the impact it had on their lives.
  • Focus groups – We use this method when we’re looking to get input from a large group. This information can then be included in stats about the project for various objectives and gives representative views, based on the demographics of the groups.representative views, based on the demographics of the groups.
  • Attending the Clydebuilt Festival - Part of our role was also attending the first maritime-based festival in Glasgow where we spoke to the public, exhibitors and volunteers on the day to get feedback on the event. This covered what people liked, what they’d change and if they’d attend again.

This is one of the best parts of our role! We love chatting to people about why they do what they do, and it’s brilliant to see positive impact  on communities.


What do we do with all the information?

Once all the information is gathered, it’s up to us to analyse it and identify and confirm:

  • If the project has met its objectives
  • How the local community has benefited
  • What could have been done differently if it was completed again

From there, we produced and designed the evaluation report.

What difference did the evaluation report make to Anchor & Sail?

It’s important for our clients that we can tell the story of what difference their project has made. For this project it helped them secure funding, however there were a number of longer term impacts that the evaluation made.

For both The Tall Ship and GalGael Trust, they found that there were some key areas that they could improve on, not only within their own organisations but also when collaborating on projects. One of the key areas was communication. Since the report was published, a number of changes have been made to improve communication between management, employees and volunteers. This has resulted in objectives of work being clearer from the outset and everyone understanding their respective roles.

At the end of the evaluation it was clear that everyone involved in the Anchor & Sail project had learned more than what was intended in the original objectives. For some of the volunteers it was gaining confidence, practical experience and even some stability in their lives. Others gained employment within the organisations and elsewhere in the industry.

The management team learned more on how to manage workloads, identifying and actioning priorities, as well as how to coordinate volunteers. For some, it was a new experience having volunteers in a workshop environment.

For The Tall Ship, the evaluation has helped them to form strong ties with other maritime-based organisations across Scotland. This provides them with the opportunities to work on more heritage projects, allowing more volunteers to develop their boatbuilding skills.


How did Anchor & Sail find working with Taylor Nisbet?

“We were delighted with the external evaluation of our project from Taylor Nisbet. The process was professionally managed and handled with compassion. The final report was accurate and fair; delivered on time; to a high standard and exceedingly useful to our work in the future. We certainly would approach them again for future work”

Ben Wilde Lead Boat builder at GalGael Trust


“Working with Taylor Nisbet has been of immense value to The Tall Ship. It has allowed us to look at ourselves through independent eyes and see where we have done well, but more importantly, where we could have done better.

One of the strengths of the evaluation process was that it gave us the time and opportunity to analyse our past processes, our current practises and future opportunities.”

Richard Martin Boat Builder, The Tall Ship at Riverside



Thank you!

We’d like to thank The GalGael Trust and The Tall Ship for choosing to work with Taylor Nisbet on this project. In being involved with these great organisations, we’ve learned more about the history of the city we’re based in and got to work with some amazing individuals.

The report can be downloaded and read here.

As a legacy of the Anchor & Sail project, The Clydebuilt Festival returns on 15 and 16 September 2018 at The Tall Ship and Riverside Museum, Glasgow.