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Niamh Living Well Living Longer Evaluation

A Gauge NI independent report into the Social Return on Investment (SROI) for the innovative Niamh Living Well Living Longer Programme has found that for every £1 invested in the service, £12 in social value is created. The SROI evaluation revealed that the programme generated a social value of £1,600,755 against a programme investment of £133,059. At an individual level this equates to a cost per person of £613 giving rise to a social value per person of £7461.
Operated by Beacon mental health services (part of the Niamh group) and supported by Big Lottery Fund, the programme supports people over the age of 60 living in 4 areas across Northern Ireland to live safely and independently in their own community. With almost 1600 sessions delivered to 217 people, the support can vary from accompanying someone to medical appointments, offering information and emotional support, connecting with other services, and bereavement or traumatic event support to name a few. 
The benefits, however, are not limited to the service users only but rather positively impact on family and carers, volunteers, referral agents and the health & social care system.
The most significant outcomes for service users include: 
• Increased levels of confidence and self esteem 
• Reduced social isolation 
• Improved relationships 
• Improved levels of independence and self care 
• Reduced stress and anxiety 
• Improved levels of mental health and resilience 
The most significant outcomes for the other stakeholder groups include: 
• Peace of mind and respite for carers and family members 
• Increased efficiency and collaboration between referral agents and partners 
• Increased wellbeing for volunteers 
• Cost savings to the health and social care system 
Billy Murphy, Director of Mental Health Services for Niamh commented: “What has been achieved in this programme is truly inspirational and it is great that the SROI report validates the return on investment .The figures presented today show the financial social values created by the programme which are obviously important. What should not be lost in that though is the major impact on the lives of the individuals involved with the service. Our research has revealed significant positive effects not just on older people, but also their families and the agencies and services that support them. It highlights real improvements in areas such as being optimistic about the future, thinking more clearly, reduced loneliness, better understanding and increased feelings of being useful in society."
Joanne McDowell, the Big Lottery Fund’s NI Director, said: “We are pleased to see the difference the Living Well Living Longer project has made to older people in the Armagh, Dungannon, Newtownards and Lisburn areas.
“Our Connecting Older People programme is supporting a range of vital projects like this one that are transforming the lives of older people in our communities who are at risk of isolation, depression, mental and physical ill health and low self esteem.” 
Michelle Gildernew, Deputy Chair, Department for Communities, added her support: “It's great to see the Living Well Living Longer Programme getting such a positive report. They have demonstrated the social value created adding real value to the lives of many older people in our communities. The programme has also made many positive contributions in a wide range of areas including reducing social isolation, improved mental health & resilience and emotional support to those it helped, along with their families. Well done to all involved!" 
Speaking about the importance of supporting and valuing older people Eddie Lynch, the Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland, said: “As we age and our lives change, we can become more isolated from a network of support, from colleagues when we retire and from family and neighbours when we are not able to get about as easily. Many older people enjoy online activity and use social networks, but many do not. 
“Social isolation and loneliness can lead to mental health problems like depression and anxiety. Many older people also have changes to physical health and find it difficult to cope psychologically with the changes to their lives that these bring. 
“However, many older people make a huge contribution to the communities in which they live. We must respect the contribution older people make to our society and ensure that older people are valued and supported. 
“A report carried out by my office found that over the next 50 years in Northern Ireland older people will contribute £24.7 billion through work, volunteering, care-giving and replacement parenting. An ageing population brings real benefit to society if older people are provided with the services and support they need to participate in their communities. 
“The Living Well Living Longer project has shown that simply helping older people get out and about in their local areas can bring about real and significant change. Levels of confidence and independence are increased among participants and social isolation is reduced. 
“I urge government to prioritise delivery of services that provide support for older people, allowing them to maintain independence within their own homes and improve their physical and emotional wellbeing. 
“We all hope to live longer and healthier lives and it is essential that we all play our part in making Northern Ireland a more age friendly society.” 
Stephen McGarry, Business Development Manager from Gauge NI said: “We were delighted to carry out this important SROI evaluation for Niamh, for their innovative programme. In order to gather evidence for the evaluation, as well as looking at the data for the project we also engaged with a wide range of stakeholders including interviewing the older people themselves, their family and friends and care providers. It was clear from their feedback the remarkable impact that Living Well Living Longer has had on the level of isolation, mental health and general wellbeing of participants.” 
To help Niamh communicate the findings of the report easily with stakeholders Gauge produced an Impact Card, click on the image above to see the details. To find out more about the work of Niamh visit their website If you'd like to find out how you can measure the social impact of your organisation get in touch with us on 02890 234414 or email
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