The Evie Project

Introduction – People Helping People

In late 2014, we (d2 Digital) were granted funding from Nesta and the Cabinet Office under their “Centre for Social Action Innovation Fund: Digital Social Action”. We proposed to use a newly improved version of our SMS behaviour change technology (Shine) to meet the aims of Nesta’s funding, ‘people helping people’. The improvements included an additional permission level to allow peer mentors (rather than keyworkers) to manage clients through this system.

‘Evie’ was born!

The key purpose of Evie is to use personal messages, with timely support to motivate behaviour change, using an automated back and forth SMS system that sends the client personal and motivational messages. All of which is remotely monitored by a worker within the treatment service.

The Evie project focussed on the prevention of alcohol dependant clients from relapsing as they were coming to the end of their treatment journey. However, this is just one example of where the technology can be utilised.

Project Partners

The project could not have happened without the collaboration of the following partners:

  • Change Grow Live (CGL) (formally known as CRI)

The project required a national organisation that fully utilises peer mentor delivery within their recovery model, matching the aim to foster peer-to-peer support. CGL fitted this description and were responsible for the delivery of Evie with their clients on the front line.

  • Nesta / Cabinet Office

Nesta provided funding and oversight for the project. In conjunction with d2 and CGL, Nesta also created milestones for the project, kept a close eye on the milestone and release of funding from Nesta was determined by the milestones being met.

  • The Social Innovation Partnership (TSIP)

TSIP are an advisor to organisations who are seeking to maximise social impact. TSIP, working in collaboration with d2 and CGL, introduced and developed the ‘Theory of Change’ which underpinned the aims and objectives of the project. TSIP also provided validation on the final evaluation report and validated the evaluation as a Level 2.

Project Rollout

The project was rolled out in April 2015 to two CGL regions in England; East Lancashire and West Kent. Each region consisted of numerous sites where the intervention was delivered, each involving a number of service managers, keyworkers and peer mentors.

Key Moments of change

As with other projects we have been involved with over the years, the original project plan never quite goes to plan! Over the length of the project a number of milestones and targets had to change and be adapted to match the modes of delivery on the ground.

The various sites where the intervention was implemented operated quite differently causing some consistency issues in how the intervention could be delivered. Therefore certain key targets were unrealistic and could not be achieved. However, by working together and changing some key milestones, it allowed Nesta, d2 and CGL to focus on the areas of the project that were having the most beneficial impact for the end user.

Key Statistics

East Lancashire

West Kent


Total Number of Clients





0 (0%)

3 (4.12%)

3 (1.24%)

Total Surveys Sent




Total Responses




Green Responses

4,933 (76.27%)

1,967 (81.69%)

6,900 (77.74%)

Amber Responses

1,421 (21.97%)

398 (16.53%)

1,819 (20.49%)

Red Responses

114 (1.76)

43 (1.78%)

157 (1.77%)

Engagement Rates*




*N.B. Evie sends 2 messages for every one message the client sends, meaning that maximum engagement rate is 50% 


We were extremely pleased with the results of the project. Out of 169 clients in East Lancashire, there were zero representations to structured treatment and out of 72 clients in West Kent there were only three representations to treatment. This equates to an overall representations rate of just 1%. Fantastic!

The qualitative feedback received from clients and staff members through the three focus groups was extremely encouraging. Despite some teething problems, the majority of the clients who participated in the focus groups found the Evie technology very beneficial to their recovery journey. Likewise, staff members felt it was an innovative way in which to support clients in a timely way, with the right level of support needed.


For me it’s (Evie) something that actually makes me stop and think ‘where am I?’ cos sometimes you carry on and not sit back and actually think what am I feeling like today – gives you that chance to do that and self-assess” - Service user comment

“Evie was just there, no prompting, no mothering, just a few choice words and it made a difference” - Service user comment

“it was like a virtual friend I think - it was nice - and now it’s kind of the norm” - Service user comment

“It’s just that gentle reminder that if you need it, it’s there. Somebodies there. I found it really helpful, and still find it helpful” - Service user comment

 “I definitely, definitely think it’s (Evie) useful. Especially when people are getting busier and busier and busier and less likely to come to a service, you can then take it (the service) to them” - Recovery Worker comment

“I’ve loved it (Evie)! I’ve loved every minute of it. It’s given me something to do that’s live and I love helping people as they’re going through and the procedures we’ve got in place now are working” - Volunteer comment


Success of Project

Despite some implementation challenges faced throughout the project, we have learned that the technology behind Evie works very well in the right environment. When used appropriately, with the backing of the organisation and its management, the benefits to both the client, staff and organisation are clearly evident. 

More Information

To see the full Evie Project report, please click here.

If you are interested in this technology, please contact Kate Evans, our Digital Health Lead who managed this project, on or call 0161 209 3383.