Loneliness is increasingly recognised as a significant problem within our society with over 1.5 million over 50s experiencing it1.
Loneliness is not in itself a mental health condition any more than unemployment is, but both of these states can contribute to significant mental and physical ill health and conditions4. We recognise that unemployment is closely linked to poverty and social exclusion2 and that when people lose their income, they lose the ability to participate fully within society.
You can imagine the devastating impact that losing your livelihood would have on your home and social life. Add in the additional factor of age and the difficulty of finding work when you are over 503, and you can start to see how isolating this position can be.
3SC have delivered a DWP contract working with those who are over 50, helping them improve their motivation and self-confidence tackling unemployment, isolation and poverty. But, one DWP contract won’t solve the problem, although it served 235 people across 7 locations, it did allow us to see first-hand the depth of the challenge and the importance of intervention. Engagement was the first step and from that grew motivation and confidence.
Small caseloads meant that quality time could be spent with each advisor by the participants whilst an innovative and evolving IT platform6 ensured live contract management for both the managers and the commissioner. Some of the challenges centred around existing literacy and numeracy barriers and low referral numbers but none of these challenges precluded progression. The majority of participants reported increased confidence, motivation and skills giving them all hope for the future. Some of the comments included appreciation for boosting self-esteem, for the enjoyable nature of the learning and the helpful, motivational approach taken by the team.
There is forecast to be over 2 million lonely over 50s by 2025/261 so the need for this kind of innovative intervention is clear and crucial. The impact this makes to the people being helped is profoundly heartfelt. When we asked some of our 235 participants about the programme the message was clear – keep doing it, it is changing lives and communities.
“I would encourage everyone who is unemployed to do this course. It opens up a whole new world”5.
To find out more about this programme, or any of our activities please drop us an email at info@3SC.org.
Gareth Snaith, Contract Performance Manager, 3SC.
- 3SC Contract report (To be Published)