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Results for 'befriending schemes'

Results 1 - 10 of 28

Loneliness: how do you know your council is actively tacking loneliness?

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION
2018

Sets out a framework of interventions for tackling loneliness, which could be used to shape local areas delivery plans. There is a growing body of research showing that loneliness is a serious condition which can have a harmful effect on individuals’ physical and mental health, as well as bringing costs to public finance, particularly health and social care, and to the economy. The report argues that it is important that local areas define the nature of loneliness in their area, and who is at risk, through their JSNA, using local intelligence and national information such as that provided by the ONS and Age UK’s Loneliness heat map. The document identifies a number of services and approaches that provide the first steps in finding individuals who are experiencing loneliness and enabling them to gain support that meets their specific needs. These include: first contact schemes; door-knocking schemes, targeting people at risk; formal social care assessments; social prescribing in primary care; home from hospital or admissions avoidance schemes; information about activity to tackle loneliness available through settings such as supermarkets, one-stop-shops, pharmacies and GP surgeries. The report also considers direct interventions, which can help people maintain existing relationships and develop new ones, including: group activities such as men’s groups, lunch clubs, walking groups, book groups for people with mental health problems, choirs, and cooking groups for young parents; one-to-one approaches such as befriending schemes; psychological support, such as counselling or cognitive-behavioural therapy. Specific community approaches provide an enabling environment and include: establishing age-friendly, dementia-friendly and mental health-friendly communities; developing volunteering, including people who might not ordinarily volunteer; mobilising peer support, and intergenerational support in neighbourhoods. In addition, gateway services such as transport, technology, spatial planning and housing make it easier for communities to come together and help people build and maintain social connections.

My Guide

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association

My Guide is a sighted guiding service, started by The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (Guide Dogs) in 2014, in which trained volunteers assist blind and partially sighted adults by helping them get out of their homes: to the shops, community events, and other activities. This was mainly out of a recognition that not everyone had the confidence or ability to undertake more formal mobility training such as with a guide dog, but nonetheless, people with sight loss who had lost confidence and become isolated still by and large want to get out and about and participate in life. My Guide was therefore envisaged either as an alternative or even a stepping stone to other forms of mobility. Ultimately it is geared towards promoting and enhancing independence and wellbeing and supports people with sight loss in achieving outcome 7 (I can get out and about) of the Seeing It My Way, the national outcomes framework for people with sight loss.

Volunteer peer support and befriending for carers of people living with dementia: an exploration of volunteers’ experiences

SMITH Raymond, et al
2018

With ageing populations and greater reliance on the voluntary sector, the number of volunteer‐led peer support and befriending services for carers of people with dementia in England is set to increase. However, little is known about the experiences of the volunteers who deliver these interventions, many of whom are former carers. Using in‐depth semi‐structured interviews with 10 volunteer peer supporters and befrienders, this exploratory study investigated volunteers’ experiences of delivering the support, the types of relationships they form with carers and their perceptions of its impact upon them and on carers. Data were analysed using framework analysis. Findings showed that volunteers benefitted from their role due to the ‘two‐way’ flow of support. Experiential similarity and having common interests with carers were considered important to the development of mutually beneficial relationships. Volunteers perceived that carers gained emotional and social support, which in turn improved the carers’ coping ability. Being able to see positive changes to carers’ lives was important for volunteers to gain enjoyment and satisfaction from their role. However, volunteers also identified challenges with their role, such as dealing with carers’ emotions. Future research should investigate ways of reducing potential burden on volunteers and explore the impact of volunteering specifically on former carers of people with dementia.

A review of the basic principles of sustainable community-based volunteering approaches to tackling loneliness and social isolation among older people

PARKINSON Andy, GRIFFITHS Endaf, TRIER Eva
2018

This study examines the social, economic and environmental conditions that enable community-based volunteering projects to reduce loneliness and isolation in older people to become successful. It also identifies barriers to volunteering approaches, and how they can be tackled. The study involved a literature review, consultation with stakeholders, and an analysis of eight case studies in Wales. Drawing on the findings, it also sets out a Theory of Change to show how programmes have the potential to reduce loneliness and social isolation and provides a framework for the future self-evaluation of programmes. The study found that schemes employ a range of approaches in order to engage and support their clients, including in-home visits, telephone befriending, and group activities. This can be influenced by funding or its ability to support the project’s aims and outcomes. Other key findings highlight the need for schemes to be able to accurately assess the social and emotional status of older people so as to deliver appropriate interventions; for schemes to target effectively to reach those most at risk. It also found that schemes adopting a participatory approach which places local people at the heart and schemes which focused on smaller geographical areas tended to be more effective. The report makes eight recommendations, which include the development of a standard method or tools for monitoring and evaluating volunteer-led schemes.

What do older people experiencing loneliness think about primary care or community based interventions to reduce loneliness? A qualitative study in England

KHARICHA Kalpa, et al
2017

Twenty-eight community dwelling people, aged 65 and over who reported being ‘lonely much of the time’ or identified as lonely from the de Jong Gierveld six-item loneliness scale in a larger study, participated in in-depth interviews, between June 2013 and May 2014. Views and experiences on seeking support from primary care and community based one-to-one and group based activities, including social and shared interest groups, were explored. Interviews were recorded and transcribed. Thematic analysis was conducted by a multidisciplinary team, including older people. Using two different measures of loneliness enabled a spectrum of loneliness experience to be explored. Two-thirds of the participants were the ‘younger old’ and all were able to leave their homes independently. Older people with characteristics of loneliness were generally knowledgeable about local social and community resources but, for the majority, community and primary care based services for their loneliness were not considered desirable or helpful at this point in their lives. However, group based activities with a shared interest were thought preferable to one-to-one support (befriending) or groups with a social focus. Descriptions of support as being for loneliness and specific to older people discouraged engagement. Older people experiencing or at risk of loneliness did not consider that primary care has a role in alleviating loneliness because it is not an illness. They thought primary care practitioners lack understanding of non-physical problems and that a good relationship was necessary to discuss sensitive issues like loneliness. For many, loneliness was a complex and private matter that they wished to manage without external support.

Evaluation of the volunteering in care homes project: summary report

HILL Matthew
2016

Summary report of an evaluation of the Volunteering in Care Homes (ViCH) project, which examines the impact of volunteering on residents, staff and volunteers and also explores the implications for developing volunteering in care homes more generally. The project was piloted in fourteen care homes, which placed trained volunteers in befriending and activity-based roles. The evaluation found good subjective evidence from staff and volunteer surveys of that befriending and activity-based volunteering roles have major positive impacts for residents in care homes, especially around social and emotional wellbeing. The majority of staff surveyed also felt the involvement of volunteers has a positive impact on their job, in terms of job satisfaction, retention and levels of stress. The evaluation also looked at the cost-effectiveness of the approach. The project had high start-up costs, with a positive ongoing value ratio achieved 18 months into the project. In order to deliver positive impacts for residents and staff, the project found that volunteers need to be effectively recruited, sufficiently trained, well matched and receive substantial ongoing support and coordination. Other factors identified that need to be addressed to enable volunteer engagement to become well established across the sector, include strategic leadership, culture change, good practice learning, financial resources and regulatory incentives.

Gig buddies: project report: January 2013 - December 2014

STAY UP LATE
2015

This evaluation report looks at how the Gig Buddies scheme has developed, the lessons learned, and the way support is offered to people to be less socially isolated while new types of volunteers are created in the process. Gig Buddies is a project that pairs up people with and without learning disabilities in Sussex to be friends and to go to events together. This report also looks at the plans to replicate Gig Buddies as a social franchise (‘Gig Buddies in a box’) by sharing experience and creating a model that enables replication, whilst also protecting the integrity of the project. The report argues that the pilot project demonstrates that Gig Buddies has the potential to transform communities, enabling many more people with learning disabilities and autism to be less socially isolated and unleashing the capacity of communities to become more involved in voluntary work.

Effectiveness of befriending interventions: a systematic review and meta-analysis

SIETTE Joyce, CASSIDY Megan, PRIEBE Stefan
2017

Objective: Befriending is an emotional supportive relationship in which one-to-one companionship is provided on a regular basis by a volunteer. It is commonly and increasingly offered by the voluntary sector for individuals with distressing physical and mental conditions. However, the effectiveness of this intervention on health outcomes is largely unknown. This systematic review examines the benefits of befriending. Design: Systematic review Methods: A systematic search of electronic databases was conducted to identify randomised controlled trials and quasi-experimental trials of befriending for a range of physical and mental health indications including depression, anxiety, mental illness, cancer, physical illness and dementia. Main outcomes included patient-relevant and disease-specific outcomes, such as depression, loneliness, quality of life, self-esteem, social support and well-being. Results: A total of 14 trials (2411 participants) were included; 7 were judged at low risk of bias. Most trials showed improvement in symptoms associated with befriending but these associations did not reach statistical significance in all trials. Befriending was significantly associated with better patient-reported outcomes across primary measures. However, there was no significant benefit on single outcomes, including depression, quality of life, loneliness ratings, self-esteem measures, social support structures and well-being. Conclusions: There was moderate quality evidence to support the use of befriending for the treatment of individuals with different physical and mental health conditions. This evidence refers to an overall improvement benefit in patient-reported primary outcomes, although with a rather small effect size. The current evidence base does not allow for firm conclusions on more specific outcomes. Future trials should hypothesise a model for the precise effects of befriending and use specified inclusion and outcome criteria.

Ways to Wellbeing

York Council for Voluntary Service

Ways to Wellbeing York is a social prescribing service which aims to improve health and wellbeing through working with people referred by GPs to identify their needs and identify local services offering non-medical interventions which may be able to help. The pilot which started in 2016 offers a whole system approach to wellbeing, enabling people attending their GP to be referred to a range of support providing by over 40 voluntary and community services in the city. The service is hosted by York CVS and funded by the City Council and currently offers access to social prescription referrals through four surgeries in York based in areas of greater deprivation. The longer term aim if funding is secured is to provide a city-wide service with a target of 1,000 referrals.

Introduction to the research on: what works to improve social networks and prevent social isolation for people with mental health problems

HARFLETT Naomi, JENNINGS Yasmin, LINSKY Kate
2017

This short scoping review identifies research into what works to improve the social networks and prevent social isolation for people with mental health problems. Searches for the review were conducted on organisational websites and a range of databases, including Social Care Online, 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 24 studies reviewed and their key findings. It also provides a summary of areas identified for future research. The review found that the evidence around effectiveness of interventions to prevent loneliness and social isolation is patchy and findings are inconsistent. However, there is evidence to show that staff can play a key role in facilitating social networks and that activity-based interventions - such as horticulture, sport and learning - can increase social networks and reduce social isolation. The review also found that befriending may be beneficial to peoples’ mental health, but that there is inconclusive evidence on the impact of peer support.

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