Research, by economists Oxera, shows that the Saint Vincent de Paul Society is helping taxpayers save £11million per year, and 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.”
From the Oxera website…
The St Vincent de Paul Society approached Oxera through Pro Bono Economics to assist it in understanding the economic effects of the SVP’s activities, which include voluntary services such as visiting and befriending.
In the report undertaken for SVP, Oxera describes in detail the wider economic impacts of visiting and befriending (visiting vulnerable people in their homes, in care homes, and hospital), which include: reducing cost to the NHS; improving quality of life for the beneficiaries; improving labour market outcomes; and reducing the cost of social services.
We also quantified a small proportion of the economic effects relating to the SVP’s visiting and befriending activities, which result in an economic welfare improvement of approximately £11m per year. Given that this estimate covers only a small proportion of the benefits that occur from visiting and befriending, we believe it is likely to be conservative.
The SVP intends to use Oxera’s report in funding applications, where robust evidence is needed of the beneficial economic effects of their activities.’