The difference you make: NLC’s Impact Evaluation 2011-2014

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Since we started North London Cares three years ago, over 700 young people have signed up to hang out with their older neighbours in Camden and Islington - giving a little extra time, practical support, social connection and human companionship, and receiving plenty back in return.

Through nearly 500 Social Clubs and 1,500 one-to-one hours, volunteers have created some 30,000 new interactions, added 8,000 hours to the community, and shared 4,500 meals with neigbours they otherwise might never have encountered.

It's been a whirlwind - and we're so grateful for everyone's wonderful contributions.

Now, for the first time, we are able to quantify not only the ways people are involved with NLC but also the difference you are all making.

Through the publication of our 130-page 3-year Impact Evaluation, based on several months of research funded by Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, we have new evidence that shows that the time people offer to be part of this community network is helping us meet three key objectives: reducing loneliness and isolation amongst older people (and younger people alike); improving the wellbeing, confidence and resilience of all participants so that they can navigate the rapidly changing modern world; and bringing people together across social and generational divides.

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The evidence is worth digging deep into, and the executive summary and full report are published below for people to download and explore. But some of the most important insights, and the ones we're proudest of, include those below.

Of the older neighbours NLC works with:

  • 51% are over 80 years old;
  • 67% live alone – twice the national average for over 65s;
  • 37% say they are lonely 'most' or 'all' of the time - nearly four times the national average (10%);
  • 68% have had low wellbeing since getting older – of these 38% say the lack of social contact is the main barrier;

And as a result of NLC's work:

  • 81% are better connected to other people;
  • 73% say their isolation has reduced;
  • 77% say their relations with young people have improved (84% for those whose relations were previously negative);
  • 73% say they are more active;
  • 76% say they have access to a greater range of experiences;
  • 86% are more able to appreciate the world;
  • 52% say they are more self-confident and secure in their area;
  • 51% say they feel more in touch with their community;

(All people joining more than 3 times).

And of the younger volunteers who participate with NLC regularly:

  • 98% said they have been able to contribute in a way they otherwise would not;
  • 98% said they have a greater connection to the community;
  • 97% felt that they were more able to appreciate older people.

These statistics are just a snapshot of the report's data. The document also contains illustrative case studies, quotes from focus groups and a deep analysis of why we do what we do - and how we can improve our methods over the coming months and years. All of the research and write-up was conducted by Chris Clarke, a freelance social researcher. We're grateful for his hard work.

Please do read and download the executive summary and full report below. If you would like any information or clarification on their contents please email[email protected]. And if you're a supporter or volunteer, we'd love it if you could share some of the results over the coming days (we'll be following up with infographics soon!) - and ask your friends to sign up to be part of it.



Alex Smith

Posted by Alex Smith on Saturday 18th October 2014

Alex is NLC's founder and CEO.