Academic Impact Report

Charity publishes powerful report that academically validates & evidences the ‘purity of its impact’

Posted on 3rd October, 2019


Six years ago, our CEO Michael McGrath embarked on a  journey to find out how the Muscle Help Foundation (MHF) charity could measure and ultimately, academically validate its impact… in a way never achieved before.

Whilst an extremely ambitious goal for a very small charity, the significant investment of time underpinned by the pursuit to evidence the ‘purity of the charity’s impact’ has been attained.

The aim was to establish in a compelling way, the lasting impact of MHF’s work and in the process, create a platform to attract ‘new donor relationships’, ‘corporate partners’ and ‘funding support’ to ultimately help reduce the growing wait-list of nominations, thus enabling MHF to move closer to its goal of delivering 657 Muscle Dreams, one for every muscle in the human body.


Michael McGrath, MHF’s Founder & CEO said:

“I’m delighted to announce that in partnership with the University of Hertfordshire, the goal to academically validate our charity’s impact has finally been achieved. Recognising the greater demands for accountability and transparency, the outcomes of this work give a compelling case for support in not only showing what MHF has accomplished and the difference it makes in the communities it serves, but it will also be the charity’s greatest asset for the future in establishing new corporate partnerships

The mixed-methods retrospective report titled ‘Evaluation of the impact of Muscle Dream experiences’ is the culmination of a substantial piece of research drawn from six years of quantitative and qualitative data. The rigorous analysis highlighted specific strengths of the Muscle Dream intervention, not least the ‘restoration of hope’ for beneficiaries and families.”


‘Evaluation of the impact of Muscle Dream experiences’

Impact Evaluation Report Cover


Dr Lizette Nolte
Ms Romila Ragaven
Mr James Randall-James
Department of Psychology & Sport Sciences
University of Hertfordshire

Dr David Wellsted, Head
Centre for Lifespan & Chronic Illness Research (CLiCIR)
School of Life and Medical Sciences
University of Hertfordshire

Ref Source 1:           University of Hertfordshire & Muscle Help Foundation
URL Link:               Click HERE to open .pdf (52 page doc)

*The UHRA is a repository of the research produced by the University of Hertfordshire. Research in UHRA can be viewed and downloaded freely by researchers and students all over the world.


Ref Source 2:         *ResearchGate
URL Link:               Click HERE to open

*ResearchGate is a social networking site for scientists and researchers to share papers, ask and answer questions, and find collaborators

*ResearchGate is a social networking site for scientists and researchers to share papers, ask and answer questions, and find collaborators



The original thought process to determine a way to validate MHF’s Muscle Dream interventions began in early 2013. Two years later in 2015, following a number of meetings with Dr David Wellstead, currently the Head of the Centre for Lifespan and Chronic Illness Research (CLiCIR), part of the University of Hertfordshire’s School of Life and Medical Sciences, a case for support had to be formulated.

Part of this process included a ‘project ideas presentation’ to a group of Clinical Psychology students in July 2015. MHF’s CEO was invited by Dr David Wellstead to give a .30mins talk about the work and impact of the charity and also answer questions.


Michael McGrath, commented:

Knowing that students would negotiate with their supervisors about specific project ideas that had caught their imagination from several other external organisations, and that only a few would be taken forwards, added to the overall experience. The Q&A was engaging, and the rest is history!”



The report gives a uniquely ‘compelling case for support’. It validates MHF’s reason to be, that the charity’s ‘work matters’ and that it delivers a ‘positive and lasting impact’.


The research robustly demonstrated the lasting impact on ‘confidence’, ‘self-esteem’ and the ‘restoration of hope’ for our beneficiaries and their families; it highlights the ‘positive benefits of powerful shared experiences’ that bring families together, giving a platform to share knowledge, memories and establish lasting friendships.


Michael McGrath, concluded by saying:

“I’m extremely proud of what has been achieved and grateful to all those who contributed and who are duly acknowledged – it provides robust supportive evidence for MHF’s work and also validation for its approach.

I’m particularly grateful for the significant commitment shown by a number of individuals at the University of Hertfordshire who helped facilitate the completion of the research, together with those who over the past 8 months or so were instrumental in providing editorial input and comment.

From the outset, my intention was always to tell our charity’s story in a way that had never been told before – I wanted the work to be underpinned by four key pillars, namely that it had to be evidence based, academically validated, independent and transparent.

Although MHF is a small charity, we can now articulate what I refer to as the ‘purity of our impact’, rooted in the belief that ‘hope’ is a positive and powerful force for good – we can now tell a very persuasive story that is not only pioneering and profound but also unique within the broad wish-fulfilment charity space”.



The report provides detailed insight into MHF’s work, ensuring that beneficiaries not only remain at the very heart of the charity but that they also ‘feel connected’ and part of its STRONGER TOGETHER ‘community’ ethos.

This ‘deep sense of connection’ underpinned by documented behaviours that arise from being part of MHF’s distinctive Muscle Warrior ‘tribal community’ is something that the charity is looking to build on in the future.

In addition to the main impact report, the charity has produced two differently sized summary posters:

1 x A3 poster (portrait, printed on one side)

1 x A4 poster (landscape, printed on both sides)

Please contact the charity if you would be interested in receiving one or more of these posters – whether you wish to receive hard-copies or soft-copies, we will invite you to make a minimum donation of £10.00 to the charity. Thank you.


The Muscle Help Foundation
Reg Charity No. 1096716

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