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Better lives for older people: an evaluation of Octavia’s outreach, befriending and activities services for older people


MANNIX Matthew, PARKER Elizabeth


New Philanthropy Capital

Publication year:


An evaluation of Octavia’s work to identify, document, and share learning about the impact of their outreach, one-to-one befriending, and group activity service. Octavia is a not-for-profit organisation that provides homes, support and care to older and vulnerable adults living in their homes and in the wider community. It offers three key services: outreach support – provides personal contact and practical help to isolated individuals, to combat loneliness and improve access to community and health services; one-to-one befriending – provides regular and on-going companionship, with weekly visits from trained and committed volunteer befrienders; and group activities – offers a range of group and social activities and events connecting people, promoting involvement, and fostering friendships. Key findings related to achieving Octavia’s social, emotional and health outcomes include: group activities seem to be especially useful for reducing service user feelings of loneliness and increasing their confidence (compared to one-to-one befriending or outreach support); outreach workers and one-to-one befrienders play a bigger role in supporting service users to access essential services; service users who had difficulties attending GP or hospital appointments reported the greatest improvements in their mental well-being and quality of life, self-care, confidence and physical health and independence; service users who had long-term mental health conditions reported the greatest improvements in their mental well-being and quality of life, feeling more socially connected, and improvements in their self-esteem; service users who were male reported the greatest improvements in their confidence and feeling more socially connected. Service users reported very high levels of overall satisfaction with the outreach, one-to-one befriending and activity service. The service received a 96% level of satisfaction, with equally high levels reported across all three service streams. (Edited publisher abstract)

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