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Results 31 - 40 of 752

Hastings Voluntary Action: age-friendly and inclusive volunteering grant programme evaluation


An evaluation of the Hastings Voluntary Action (HVA) project, which comprises three strands: a club, ‘Volunteering by the Sea’, for people that may be taking a break from volunteering or face barriers to participation; recruitment of volunteer champions to help inspire and support people into volunteering, as well as help design the model and steer the project; organisational health checks, promoted with local volunteer organisations to reduce barriers and embed age-friendly and inclusive volunteering principles and practice, as well as potentially providing a source of volunteering opportunities for volunteer club members. The Hastings Age-Friendly Volunteering project highlights the potential benefits of a multi-faceted approach. This model combines a sociable age-friendly volunteering club, predominantly co-located at a volunteering hub and community café to provide immediate volunteering opportunities, and volunteer champions to inspire, inform and support older people interested in volunteering. This model helps overcome barriers by applying age-friendly and inclusive volunteering principles, and support people into a variety of volunteering opportunities that suit their circumstances. The model has shown, where it has successfully engaged with people, that it can help increase social connections, reduce isolation and loneliness, and help improve self-esteem and confidence, both through engaging in the club itself and participating in subsequent volunteering opportunities. This in turn can potentially help improve emotional and physical well-being.

Sustain: Growing Connections: age-friendly and inclusive volunteering grant programme evaluation


An evaluation of Growing Connections, a project of Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming. The project was delivered through Sustain’s Capital Growth network of 2,700+ community gardens in London, using volunteers as part of the delivery model. The process sought to help the gardens involved in the project adopt age-friendly and inclusive volunteering by developing resources, such as a guide/toolkit, webpages, films and animation, to share best practice and encourage other community gardens, community-food and nature-based projects. The Sustain Growing Connections project and its model of sharing ideas, experience and expertise of volunteers and organisations through the flagship/buddy garden approach, combined with a community of practice, provided an effective platform to co-create, prototype and test resources relevant to age-friendly and inclusive volunteering. The project has also encouraged and supported the participating community gardens to put into practice and showcase approaches to age-friendly and inclusive volunteering. They have been given the opportunity to reflect, learn from each other, and implement changes to reduce age-friendly and inclusive volunteering barriers, embed the principles and make their gardens more age-friendly and inclusive. This in turn appears to be improving the volunteer experience and consequently increasing the diversity and amount of volunteer involvement and commitment. This has the potential to help community gardens attract and retain more diverse volunteers in the future and become more sustainable.

Kent Coast Volunteering: age-friendly and inclusive volunteering grant programme evaluation


An evaluation of Kent Coast Volunteering (KCV), a project that supports Kent’s coastal communities to improve their quality of life through the power of volunteering and social action. The project aimed to help isolated older people, at risk of being vulnerable due to their circumstances, who have been ‘supported’ by KCV’s community care navigation referral service or other partners, to become ‘supporters’ of other people. KCV sought to achieve this through a package of inspiration, confidence and skills building delivered in a neutral ‘third space’, and then supporting and matching people to volunteer opportunities through their existing volunteer outreach and brokerage service. The project demonstrates through testing, learning and iterating that an informal approach such as the social get togethers, which is not overt initially, but gradually introduces volunteering, can be effective in engaging people. This is initially through subtle introduction of fun (but purposeful and meaningful) micro-volunteering and exposure to volunteers and voluntary organisations. Subsequently, the approach becomes increasingly overt and promotes the benefits of local volunteering opportunities. This model helps generate positive outcomes such as increasing social connections, reducing isolation and loneliness, and building self-esteem and confidence. This in turn can potentially help improve emotional and physical well-being, helping people that were previously ‘supported’ to become more independent and resilient and potentially support others.

A collaborative, multi-sectoral approach to implementing a social prescribing initiative to alleviate social isolation and enhance well-being amongst older people

WILKINSON Emma Killbery, et al

Purpose: In 2019, St Johns Winchester, a CQC-registered charity, launched the Hand in Hand (HiH) Service, a social prescribing (SP) initiative to alleviate social isolation/loneliness amongst older people via integration between primary care and the third sector. Arising from collaborative stakeholder reflection, this article explicates processes instigated to plan, implement and evaluate the HiH service which has been locally recognised as an exemplar of good practice. It aims to fill a gap in the literature which has hitherto lacked contextual description of the drivers, mechanisms and processes of SP schemes, leading to confusion over what constitutes SP and which models can work. Design/methodology/approach: The article defines the context of, drivers for and collaborative process followed to implement and evaluate HiH and reflects on challenges, facilitators and key points for transferable learning. Early evaluation findings are presented. Findings: Key features underpinning the success of the pilot phase were: having clear referral pathways, working collaboratively with health and voluntary sector partners, building relationships based on trust, adherence to high-quality standards and governance, a well-trained team of volunteers and access to up-to-date information source. There remains a disparity between the urgent need for rigorous evaluation data and the resources available to produce it. Originality/value: The article offers a novel contribution for those planning SP at the level of practice and policy and for the developing field of SP evaluation.

‘It's our pleasure, we count cars here’: an exploration of the ‘neighbourhood-based connections’ for people living alone with dementia

ODZAKOVIC Elzana, et al

The extent of social isolation experienced by people living with dementia who reside in the community has been well acknowledged, yet little is known about how people living alone with dementia maintain neighbourhood-based connections. The purpose of this study is to examine the experiences of people with dementia who live alone, focusing upon how they establish social networks and relationships in a neighbourhood context, and how they are supported to maintain this social context within everyday life. Multiple data collection methods were used including, semi-structured interviews, walking interviews, guided home tours and social network mapping, which were conducted with 14 community-dwelling people living alone with dementia (11 women and three men) situated across the three international study sites in England, Scotland and Sweden. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. The analysis revealed four main themes: (a) making the effort to stay connected; (b) befriending by organisations and facilitated friendships; (c) the quiet neighbourhood atmosphere; and (d) changing social connections. The analysis suggests that people with dementia who live alone were active agents who took control to find and maintain relationships and social networks in the neighbourhood. Our findings indicate the need to raise awareness about this specific group in both policy and practice, and to find creative ways to help people connect through everyday activities and by spontaneous encounters in the neighbourhood.

Loneliness: a reading list

LOFT Philip

This reading list provides links to various publications considering the causes and impact of loneliness, as well as possible interventions to deal with the issue in society. The reading list includes academic, third-sector and official reports and statistics on: what is loneliness; overviews of research and strategies; comparative studies of loneliness; the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The bibliography also includes the incidence and impact of loneliness on different groups of people, including: older and younger persons; carers and parents; armed services; homeless; disabled people; Black and minority ethnic groups; refuges and migrants; LGBT persons; those living in rural areas. The paper also cites material on strategies to tackle loneliness, its financial costs, and the health impacts of loneliness.

Tackling loneliness

LOFT Philip, et al

The Government's Loneliness Strategy was published in October 2018. It set out a wide variety of cross-departmental measures that the Government would take to provide 'national leadership' to tackle loneliness in England. As well as explaining the Strategy and the steps taken so far by the Government, this briefing also looks at research into the causes and impact of loneliness and possible interventions. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on loneliness is also considered, alongside the measures introduced by the Government in response. Finally, this paper briefly outlines the situation in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Virtual quizzes involving several care homes are feasible and might reduce loneliness and social isolation


Summarises findings of a study that trialled connecting care homes virtually via quiz sessions. Simple low-cost video technology allowed residents in different care homes to enjoy taking part in virtual quizzes. Twenty-two care home residents, from three homes, volunteered to take part. Residents with dementia, signs of cognitive decline, and hearing or visual impairments were included. Some residents were non-verbal, or had limited mobility, and some had no prior experience of video calls. Afterwards, staff and residents provided feedback on the benefits and feasibility of the sessions. Four themes emerged from interviews with staff and residents: residents with moderate-advanced dementia remembered faces and conversations but could not recall having seen the technology before – they expressed happiness when remembering conversations with people ‘outside’ of their care home, and answering questions in a ‘game’; residents felt more connected with others – within the same care home, residents learnt more about each other’s backgrounds and interests and across care homes they enjoyed comparing features of their environments; residents re-gained a sense of self by sharing their stories and remembering their pasts with people of a similar age; the virtual quizzes provided relief from loneliness or boredom. Most residents said the video calls helped them to ‘pass the time’ and gave them ‘something to do’. Residents said the quizzes encouraged them to get to know others within the same home more than passive activities, such as watching TV. Across care homes, residents were surprised that there were so many people with similar interests or professions, or who had grown up in the same area as they had.

Nature-based interventions and mind–body interventions: saving public health costs whilst increasing life satisfaction and happiness


A number of countries have begun to adopt prevention pays policies and practices to reduce pressure on health and social care systems. Most affluent countries have seen substantial increases in the incidence and costs of non-communicable diseases. The interest in social models for health has led to the growth in use of social prescribing and psychological therapies. At the same time, there has been growth in application of a variety of nature-based and mind–body interventions (NBIs and MBIs) aimed at improving health and longevity. This study assessed four NBI/MBI programmes (woodland therapy, therapeutic horticulture, ecotherapy/green care, and tai chi) on life satisfaction/happiness and costs of use of public services. These interventions produce rises in life satisfaction/happiness of 1.00 pts to 7.29 (n = 644; p < 0.001) (for courses or participation >50 h). These increases are greater than many positive life events (e.g., marriage or a new child); few countries or cities see +1 pt increases over a decade. The net present economic benefits per person from reduced public service use are £830–£31,520 (after 1 year) and £6450–£11,980 (after 10 years). This study concludes that NBIs and MBIs can play a role in helping to reduce the costs on health systems, while increasing the well-being of participants.

Results 31 - 40 of 752


Prevention in social care

Prevention in social care What it means, the policy context, role for commissioners and practitioners and the evidence base.

H4All wellbeing service

H4All wellbeing service Practice example about how H4All Wellbeing Service is using the Patient Activation Measure (PAM) tool

Moving Memory

Moving Memory Practice example about how the Moving Memory Dance Theatre Company is challenging perceived notions of age and ageing.

Chatty Cafe Scheme

Chatty Cafe Scheme Practice example about how the Chatty Cafe Scheme is helping to tackle loneliness by bringing people of all ages together

Oomph! Wellness

Oomph! Wellness Practice example about how Oomph! Wellness is supporting staff to get older adults active and combat growing levels of social isolation

LAUGH research project

LAUGH research project Practice example about a research project to develop highly personalised, playful objects for people with advanced dementia


KOMP Practice example about how KOMP, designed by No Isolation is helping older people stay connected with their families
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