Results for 'relationships'
This report presents the findings from research and impact measurement of key projects undertaken by the North London Cares and South London Cares, demonstrating how the charities meet their core objectives of reducing isolation and loneliness amongst older people (and young professionals alike); improving the wellbeing, skills, resilience and connection of all participants; and bridging social and generational divides. The main projects comprise: Love Your Neighbour, supporting one-to-one friendships across social and generational divides; Social Clubs, aimed at older people who can still get out of the house, and want to interact with other older neighbours as well as local young people; Winter Wellbeing, a pro-active outreach effort that helps older neighbours to stay warm, active, healthy and connected during the most isolating time of year; and Community Fundraising, involving volunteers in major community fundraising effort through a ‘networked approach’. Drawing from the responses to a survey of new members (and follow up surveys), the report shows that there were little change for the scores for wellbeing for those who answered all surveys, except for an increase in anxiety. When looking at all responses, regardless of whether they stayed in contact for 12 months, the happiness score appears to be increasing, suggesting that some of those who were least happy dropped out of the survey. In the loneliness questions there was a decrease in the computed social loneliness score (questions about other people), but an increase in the emotional loneliness (questions about their sense of loneliness). The report also develops a new theory of change for the organisation, and sets out how to go about measuring impact against theory. The theory is based on five outcomes, which apply equally to both volunteers and older neighbours, and include: reducing isolation, improving wellbeing, increasing the feeling of belonging in the local community, living richer lives, and building bridges across social and generational divides.
This discussion paper explores the evidence on the impact of everyday relationships and kindness on individual and societal wellbeing, and community empowerment, and develops a theory of change. The paper sets out what maintaining connections and acting in kindness means and how these relate to concepts such as social capital, ‘random acts of kindness’, resilience, isolation and loneliness. Drawing on the evidence, it explains why kinder communities are important, what are the enablers and barriers, and what is happening currently to strengthen everyday relationships and kinder communities, focusing on community development, interface with public services, building connections, assets based approaches and individual psychology. The paper includes seven case studies providing examples of good practice.
MENTAL HEALTH FOUNDATION
Examines how investing in building and maintaining good relationships and tackling the barriers to forming them positively impact on mental health and wellbeing. The evidence shows that people who are more socially connected to family, friends, or their community are happier, physically healthier and live longer, with fewer mental health problems than people who are less well connected. The paper looks at relationships across the life course and why they matter, focusing on children and young people, adults and later life. Higher rates of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety have been associated with loneliness, isolation and social rejection during adolescence and similarly having few close relationships has been linked to higher rates of depression and stress in older adults. The report calls on national governments, public bodies and employers to promote good relationships and tackle barriers, including mounting pressures on work–life balance and the impact of bullying and unhealthy relationships.
This report summarises a series of studies carried out on behalf of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) on the role that community pubs play in people’s health, happiness and social cohesion. To set the scene, the paper first provides a brief overview of how people create their friendships. It then raises the problem of large scale social cohesion and provides some insights into how social cohesion has been engineered in the past. Finally, it presents the findings from a national poll of pub use and two studies of behaviour in pubs undertaken to assess the social value of small community pubs compared to large city centre pubs. The evidence suggests that while 40 per cent of people in the UK now typically socialise with friends in someone’s home, a third of the population prefer to do so in pubs, and regard pubs as a safe place to meet friends. People who said they have a ‘local’ or those who patronise small community pubs appear to have more close friends on whom they can depend for support, are more satisfied with their lives and feel more embedded in their local communities than those who said they do not have a local pub. The paper makes a number of recommendations for publicans, city planners and policy makers to ensure pubs play a role in people’s health, wellbeing and community cohesion.
A review of the evidence from research about shared-life communities for people with a learning disability, summarising the results from the small number of academic studies which have attempted to measure the quality of life of people with a learning disability living in such communities. This study shows how shared-life communities facilitate a high quality of life for their residents with a learning disability and in particular: high levels of meaningful employment - residents are able to work full time in a range of unskilled and skilled work essential to the daily life and economy of the community, while also exercising choice over where they are able to work; opportunities for friendship - a shared-life communities provide a large clustering of potential friends with the opportunity to meet in workplace and informal settings, while ease of communication enables friendships to be sustained; and long-term relationships - living in extended families in a long-term social relationship with co-workers/assistants enables both groups to become familiar with each other’s pattern of communication.
ANDERSON Simon, BROWNLIE Julie, MILNE Elisabeth-Jane
This study highlights an overlooked component of social cohesion – everyday acts of informal help and support within communities. While such acts are often mundane and practical - small loans, lifts, help with shopping - they can also have a significant emotional dimension. Although these acts are often simple, navigating them is not: the researchers find that opposing moral forces complicate this picture. Concepts of the ‘deserving’, of stoicism and the imperative to help others all feature in this study. Key points include: the character of informal support among family, friends and even strangers is shaped by the social and physical characteristics of areas but also by the narratives that attach to them; in the often unspoken moral framework underpinning these interactions, both reciprocity (giving back) and mutuality (where both parties benefit from the interaction) are important elements; public policy needs to recognise both the interactional complexity and the emotional significance of everyday help and support. In the context of political debate around austerity and the scope of the state, the infrastructural qualities of such relationships need to be recognised. While such support makes possible other aspects of social life, it also requires maintenance and repair in its own right.
ANDERSON Simon, BROWNLIE Julie, MILNE Elisabeth-Jane
A summary of a study examining low-level or everyday help and support and the role it can play in allowing people to lead ‘liveable’ lives. The study explored the ways in which the need for (and availability of) such support is shaped by social context, biography and relationships. It also looked at how support actually happens (or not) and how it is sustained over time. Key findings included: small acts of help, support and kindness were often mundane and barely noticed (even by those involved), but had fundamental consequences for individual and community well-being; although this everyday help was often practical, it could have important emotional consequences; individual circumstances, life stage and life events (e.g. parenting, ill health, retirement) created needs for informal help and support, but also ways of potentially meeting those needs; powerful emotions and moral considerations attached to these apparently straightforward acts, particularly notions of reciprocity and who should be considered deserving of help; many of the perceived risks of helping or being helped related to people’s concerns about their self-image or how others saw them; collectively, these acts and relationships of everyday help and support had an ‘infrastructural’ quality - they made possible other aspects of social life, but needed attention, maintenance and repair in their own right. The briefing concludes that while it is not possible to legislate for kindness, attempts should be made to avoid damaging – and, where possible, foster and extend – the conditions in which it occurs.
This article provides a baseline analysis of social capital in the UK, using the latest available data. The data are based on 25 headline measures proposed by the Office for National Statistics, which cover four key aspects of social capital: personal relationships, social network support, civic engagement and trust and cooperative norms. Key findings include: around 1 in 10 people in the UK reported feeling lonely all, most, or more than half of the time in 2011/12 and just over a third said that they wish they could spend more time with their family and have more social contact. Nearly 1 in 5 people reported looking after or giving special help to someone sick, disabled or elderly and nearly a fifth of people had given unpaid help or worked as a volunteer in a local, national or international organisation or charity in the last 12 months in 2012/13. Half of people reported being very or quite interested in politics and around two-thirds thought people in their neighbourhood could be trusted. Nearly three-quarters of people felt people in their neighbourhood get along with each other and are willing to help each other.
This paper focuses on the social relationships in the everyday lives of participants in the AKTIVE study and considers how telecare fits into these. Focusing on older people living at home with different types of frailty, the AKTIVE project aimed both to enhance understanding of how they (and those supporting them) accessed, engaged with and used the telecare equipment supplied to them, and to explore the consequences for them of doing so. This paper examines types of relationships and how these change, with a focus on being cared for and on the loneliness which many participants experienced. After discussing these aspects, the paper explores how telecare fitted into these relationships, assesses the extent to which social relations support or hinder telecare use, and discusses research participants’ experiences of this. The paper addresses three of the AKTIVE project’s research questions, adding to knowledge of: the characteristics of older people who use telecare and the contexts in which they do so; how telecare is used and affects those involved; and barriers to the adoption of telecare. In examining older people’s social relationships and how telecare fits into and affects these, the paper builds on sociological research on the use of technology, much of which has focused on information and communication technologies (ICTs). The paper explores new data collected through Everyday Life Analysis (ELA), a methodology using ethnographic observations and interviews with older people over a period of six to nine months. Research participants were supported to create maps of their social relations to help identify the people who supported them, who were also interviewed or observed wherever possible.
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to summarise two 2014 research papers that highlight the role of social interactions and the social world in recovery in the context of mental distress.
Design/methodology/approach: The author summarise two papers: one is about two theories from social psychology that help us understand social identity – our sense of who we are. The other brings together and looks at the similarities and differences between ten different therapies that can be called resource-oriented – that is, they focus on people's strengths and resources rather than what is wrong with them.
Findings: The paper on social identity gives a convincing case for incorporating teaching about social identity – and the social groups to which people belong – into the training of mental health professionals. The paper on resource-oriented therapies suggests that social relationships are a main component of all ten therapies examined. This second paper suggested a need for more research and theory relating to resource-oriented therapies. Social identity theory could help address this issue. Mental health services may be able to help people more by focusing on their established and desired social identities and group-belonging, and their strengths, than is usual.
Originality/value: These two papers seem timely given the growing recognition of the role of social factors in the development and maintenance of mental distress. More attention to social factors in recovery could help make it more self-sustaining.