ESS Depute Director Diane Kennedy writes about our A Sitch in Time resources that can help organisations evaluating services that aim to connect people.
Iriss has recently produced an evidence review in the context of Covid-19 that explores why social isolation and loneliness are bad for your health, who is most likely to be affected and what little we know about effective interventions.
Meantime, a few years ago, as part of our work on the Stitch in Time programme, (third sector contribution to Reshaping Care for Older People), ESS produced an evidence overview and an Indicator bank for outcomes including ‘older people staying/ being more socially connected’
These might give you an idea for what to measure, to show or understand when you are making a difference. We suggest you
- chose a few (those most relevant to you) or
- adapt them or
- use them as inspiration to identify your own indicators.
You might also want to check out the indicators for staying positive and in control, since motivation can be affected by loneliness and isolation.
Once you have your indicators you can decide how you are going to measure them. Our website has good resources to help you to do this.
ESS Support Guide 2a: Designing evidence collection methods – This guide covers things to think about when designing a suitable evaluation method for the evidence you want to collect.
Evaluation methods and tools are available to download
Or just collect evidence as you go and code it against these indicators. This might look quite diverse, casual comments, cards, photos, stories.
As part of a follow up to a Stitch in Time?, we worked with befriending projects in Fife. They identified that Befriending could tackle, isolation, loneliness and exclusion. See ‘From the Source to the Sea’ for more information about the outcomes from befriending and the different roles played in Catching people before they fall, strengthening peoples’ connections or lifting people to a better place.