29 May 2019

Better Lives for Older People: An Evidence-Based Model

Befriending @ Reed

The UK population is living longer, and this is in many ways a positive prospect for people and society. Yet living longer brings challenges for the individual, our healthcare system, on families and communities. Alongside ageing, loneliness is a growing challenge with over 9 million people in the UK, almost a fifth of the population, sharing that they are always or often lonely.


Octavia is a not-for-profit organisation providing thousands of people in inner London with affordable homes, care and support in their communities. This includes our Outreach, Befriending and Social Activities programme for older and vulnerable people. These services connect people to local support and activities and provide practical assistance on a one to one basis.


In recent years our Outreach, Befriending and Social Activities programme have grown but we know the need is greater still. We want to grow the services and already have strong evidence of their positive impact. For example, the services achieve a Social Return on Investment ratio of 1:5 - this means that for every £1 spent in providing the services, an equivalent £5 is achieved in social value (this is based on metrics developed by Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust and the London School of Economics). We want to strengthen the evidence base for these services, and are working with New Philanthropic Capital (NPC) to:


  • Set out a theory of change and identify a comprehensive metrics system to measure impact (phase 1);
  • An independent assessment by NPC on the effectiveness of the services and the positive impact made on people’s lives using the metrics identified in the first phase (phase 2).


We have now completed Phase 1 and gathered the key findings in this document, which provides an overview of the context for this work, the rationale underpinning our model, a high level theory of change for the services, and some case studies to illustrate the impact of our work.


Should you have any questions or wish to find out more about our Outreach, Befriending and Social Activities programme, please feel free to get in touch with us via email (comms@octavia.org.uk) or phone (020 8354 5500).