The evaluation will gather existing evidence from research in topics related to the project. It will also gather evidence of the impacts of O4O on individuals, communities and statutory service providers.
Artur Steinerowski, Research Assistant
The literature review will focus on evidence from published studies that are available in English.
The literature review aims to consider the links between community organisations (such as social enterprises and voluntary agencies), social capital and health and wellbeing which have been established by previous research, and to relate these findings to what is said in policy. In Scotland, government policy states that community organisations have positive impacts on: communities, individuals and public services. Improvements for any of these within a community may have positive affects for the others (i.e. it is suggested there are positive feedback mechanisms between them). The literature review considers the research that has been conducted and published and thus considers the evidence base underpinning current policy.
It is assumed that the benefits of community organisations are social capital and community capacity building which may, in turn, lead to physical and mental health improvements for individuals and, consequently, the community. These benefits may, in turn, lead to the promotion of economic capital, job creation and enhanced financial sustainability for the community.
There may be benefits for those who participate in providing services for older people (i.e. help givers) and people receiving services (i.e. the help recipients). For the help givers, they may find that they feel better for helping out and that they build new networks and connections within their community. Their increased levels of self-satisfaction and their own identified place in society may contribute to benefits in their health. For the recipients, they may get a certain type of tangible help (ie receive help with something), which may also lead to further benefits associated with increased participation and health improvements.
Public services (Such as local authorities/municipalities and health services)
May find that their burden of providing services may be eased because the community organisations have provided a service which fills a gap or they may find that existing services are better supported and more sustainable. It may also mean that there are changes in the forms of use of services, the range of services being used or demand for certain services.
A map of the literature review domains and ‘theory’ has been devised.
The evaluation aims to assess the impacts of O4O on individuals, communities and service providers. It aims to consider whether there are benefits in encouraging other O4Os to grow in other communities and to test the statements of government policy. Data are being gathered throughout the project to detect any differences over time. Evaluation consists of:
For individual differences
Interviews are being conducted with those aged 55 and over that have been involved in establishing O4O services in communities and those who receive or might receive services.
For community differences
A questionnaire survey has been conducted in some communities and will be conducted in others. It examines the health and well-being and social participant impacts of O4Os.
For service provider differences
Service providers, including health services, ambulance services and social care services are being asked to identify which data or indicators would show impacts from their perspective. This might include, for example, fewer admissions to hospital, fewer falls or fewer hours of home care required. If data can be identified at a community level, we will study impacts of O4O on service providers over time.
Evaluation in different partner regions
Different partners are choosing to do different parts of the evaluation or to undertake it at a smaller or larger scale.
Our Greenland partner is conducting research in communities to find some baseline information about how older people participate in activities, their social contact and the potential for older people volunteering to help each other.
As findings are produced and reported we will highlight them here.