Valuing efforts to cut loneliness and isolation in Walsall

We are mid-way through an evaluation of the Making Connections Walsall programme and joined their multi-partner stakeholder event to celebrate their successes last November. It was a chance for the hubs (the organisations supporting lonely and isolated older people) along with other charities, public services (like GP surgeries and the West Midlands Fire Service) and older people themselves to come together and share their experiences. The event was very well-attended, with some 80 people there. A number of local organisations had exhibition stands, letting people know more about what they do to support Walsall residents.

We shared some key findings from the evaluation, including an rise in mental health and wellbeing, alongside a fall in depression and loneliness. Hubs have told us that awareness of services has increased locally, including GP surgeries knowing about non-medical support, and that the data collected is helping to show the tangible difference hubs are making. Other organisations have also been positive. One person said that: “A small investment has made a big difference.”

The evaluation carries on into 2019, when we crunch all the data to produce a Social Return on Investment evaluation of the project.

You can see the slides from the day here.

MRS Evidence Matters