We evaluated the build of an £8.8m research and innovation centre in Wakefield called XPLOR. This included an interim and final evaluation.

The evaluation reviewed the £3.5m ERDF grant which covered the build of a specialist knowledge and innovation centre supporting the live events industry, support to SMEs in the live events industry and tailored engagement events.

XPLOR aims to contribute to the following objectives, which we tested:

  • Growth of the creative industry sector in Wakefield and the Leeds City Region.
  • Higher employment and skill levels in the creative industry sector.
  • More young people and women entering and progressing in the creative industry sector.
  • Community and economic benefits locally through increased entrepreneurship, business growth and visitor spend.
  • Wider profile raising for Wakefield.

Our evaluations complied with relevant ERDF and HM Treasury guidance. It included online consultations, analysis of project information and secondary datasets. We covered:

  • The changing socio-economic context since the programme began because of Covid-19.
  • Feedback on delivery and identified lessons and good practice including: successes, lessons, how partners could achieve better outcomes, how well the project engaged with females and young people and the effectiveness of partnerships.
  • Impacts capturing the extent to which the project achieved its objectives and its legacy.
  • A Value for Money assessment using Social Return on Investment analysis.