The research, by economists Oxera, found that the visits made to the isolated and lonely by the Saint Vincent de Paul volunteers, helped improve their mental health, helped them navigate “the system” better, and enhanced their skills, their educational opportunities and their employment chances. The Research also found that the visit is benefit to the society.
The Saint Vincent de Paul’s 10,000 volunteers make half a million visits to vulnerable people each year, according to the study of the research.
This resulted in an improvement to their quality of life and a reduction in costs to the NHS and social services.
Although it is difficult to quantify the impacts precisely, the report said, “we calculated that the SVP’s befriending activities result in an economic welfare improvement of about £11 million per year”.
Every £1 spent by the SVP results in £2.87 in benefits, according to the report.
Helen O’Shea, a trustee of the SVP, said: “We see every day at first hand the benefits of our visits to isolated people, in terms of their emotional and psychological well being. Now we have confirmation from economists that our visits also have substantial financial benefits as well.”