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

Author(s)

CENTRE FOR AGEING BETTER

Publisher(s):

Centre for Ageing Better

Publication year:

2021

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. (Edited publisher abstract)


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