Results for 'voluntary work'
HARFLETT Naomi, JENNINGS Yasmin, LINSKY Kate
This short scoping review identifies research on the impact and effectiveness of meaningful activity for people with mental health problems. Due to the lack of consensus on what is meant by the terms ‘meaningful activity’ or ‘meaning activity’, the review focused on different activities, such as unpaid work and volunteering, horticulture, woodwork, arts and music, physical exercise and leisure. Searches were on a range of databases, including Social Care Online, and organisational websites for UK based research published from 2000. The review provides an overview of the quantity and quality of the research and a table summarising the 33 studies reviewed and their key findings. It also provides a summary of areas identified for future research. The review found that in the vast majority of the studies found people experience positive outcomes from participating in meaningful activity or occupation. These included: a sense of purpose or meaning to life, a structure or routine to the day, acquisition of skills, a sense of identity, social interaction and increased social networks, improved wellbeing, access to employment or education, improved confidence and improved self-esteem. However it notes that due to the high proportion of small-scale qualitative research studies, positive outcomes may be overstated. It also found no conclusive evidence to show that volunteering resulted in positive outcomes for people with mental health problems.
GEORGHIOU Theo, et al
Presents the findings of an evaluation of seven social action projects funded by the Cabinet Office, NHS England, Monitor, NHS Trust Development Authority and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services. The aim of the Reducing Winter Pressures Fund was to scale up and test projects that used volunteers to support older people to stay well, manage health conditions or recover after illness, and thereby reduce pressure on hospitals. The organisations supported by the fund comprised a range of national and local charities. These projects fell into three broad categories: community-based support, supporting discharge from hospital wards, and supporting individuals in A&E department to avoid admissions. Between them, the projects offered a wide range of services to older people – both direct (for example help with shopping or providing transport) and indirect (linking with other services). The evaluation resulted in a mixed set of findings. From the interviews with staff, volunteers and local stakeholders, there was evidence of services that had made an impact by providing practical help, reassurance and connection with other services that could reduce isolation and enable independence. Those involved with the projects felt that volunteers and project staff could offer more time to users than pressurised statutory sector staff, which enabled a fuller understanding of a person’s needs while also freeing up staff time. However, the analysis of hospital activity data in the months that followed people's referral into the projects did not suggest that these schemes impacted on the use of NHS services in the way that was assumed, with no evidence of a reduction in emergency hospital admissions, or in costs of hospital care following referral to the social action projects. The one exception was the project based in an A&E department, which revealed a smaller number of admissions in the short term. The report questions whether these sorts of interventions can ever be fully captured solely using hospital-based data and conceptualising reduced or shortened admissions as a key marker of success.
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.
ROYAL VOLUNTARY SERVICE
A summary of the achievements of the Royal Voluntary Service Hospital 2 Home service during its first year. Leicestershire County Council launched the scheme in hospitals in six districts, including the three university hospitals in Leicester in summer 2012. The service provides practical help and support following a discharge from hospital; helps users to regain confidence and reduce anxiety; reduces social isolation; promotes independent living and choice; helps users to maintain day to day activities; provides information/signpost to other organisations; and helps prevent readmissions to hospital. Designed to be short-term, friendly and confidential and people-centred, the service is provided free of charge and is normally available for up to six weeks. Over 600 people have been referred. Among the participants readmission rates to hospital have been very low, with readmissions of older people approximately half national rates.
COLLINS Angela B., WRIGLEY Julie
This report evaluates the overall impact of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Neighbourhood approaches to loneliness programme. The main principles of the Neighbourhood approaches to loneliness programme are that community activities can contribute to the well-being of people at risk of, or experiencing, loneliness; that such people can play a central role in these activities; and that this involvement can also enhance community well-being. This report is based on consultation with community researchers, professional stakeholders, programme staff and community members. The report highlights that good practice requires skilled staff who are able to communicate effectively and provide pastoral support to volunteers; reveals changes in community researchers resulting from their involvement in the programme; demonstrates where there has been community impact; and shares wider lessons which can be learnt from taking a neighbourhood approach.