You will need to demonstrate how you know the unmet need exists and will have to provide some recent and relevant evidence. This can come from a combination of sources, such as:
- asking people with experience of the need
- your own experience, or what you have seen
- research into the scale of the need
- local statistics about the population in the area or levels of deprivation (such as from the census or other more recent surveys) or other statistics
- local authority initiatives or partnership strategies between statutory and voluntary sector services that are in place because the need is already well known and evidenced.
Some groups who are in most need do not engage with services and so current or recent evidence about their needs may be harder to access.
In general, the time you spend researching need will be in proportion to the size of your project. For example, larger projects will need to demonstrate how their project fits with local, regional or national strategies and the evidence underpinning them.
When analysing the needs you are aiming to address, it is important to keep asking the question "why?"
There may be a number of underlying problems and probing the reasons can really help clarify which needs you will address and which you will not and the best approach to designing your project.