Charity shows how city could save £ millions and reduce loneliness in Brighton

Brighton and Hove charity, Possability People have launched a report showing how millions of pounds could be saved across local health and social care budgets while also reducing loneliness in Brighton.

Improving Lives, Saving Money: the economic, social and environmental impact of Citywide Connect, 2014 – 2016 has evaluated the charity’s Citywide Connect programme, which brings together the public, private and community sectors* to find new, innovative ways of supporting vulnerable, socially isolated older people to be well, and stay well, reducing the need for acute, more costly services.

The evaluation shows that:

  • For every £1 invested in Citywide Connect, there is the potential to save £34.
  •  If just 10% of the 7000 most vulnerable and isolated lonely people over 65 in Brighton and Hove benefited from Citywide Connect, there would be over £3 million of potential preventative saving to local health and social care budgets
  • According to The Campaign to End Loneliness, loneliness and social isolation are harmful to our health: research shows that lacking social connections is as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
  • Lonely people are more likely to visit their GP, require accident and emergency services, develop dementia and need nursing or residential care sooner. These are expensive interventions which don’t solve the problems people are facing in their lives.
  • Isolation and loneliness don’t have financial boundaries. “Not just poor people are lonely. Often people might not meet Adult Social Care eligibility criteria; or they do not want to become part of the statutory system; they don’t have a medical need but they do need practical and social support and they can afford to pay”. Loretta Harrison, Home and Company.
  • Between 2014 and 2016, 261 people from 152 different organisations took part in Citywide Connect, attending hub meetings, events and pledging to work together.
  • It has created a ‘can do’ attitude, with over 400 pledges made by those working across sectors to find solutions to budgetary challenges.

Geraldine Des Moulins, Possability People’s Chief Officer says:

“With government funding for health and social care going down and demand for services increasing, the care sector, in its broadest sense, needs to find innovative ways of supporting more people with less money. In a nutshell, lonely older people are better cared for, and it costs the state less”.

Connect has brought partners together through events and outreach work. It has enabled different sectors to learn from each other and create innovative, cost effective ways of delivering services.

Loretta Harrison of Home and Company continued:

“Citywide Connect is creating significant culture change. It is changing the way organisations communicate, learn, share and work together. Home & Company is a small, independent home help service covering Brighton & Hove. The value of Citywide Connect is making connections – this makes good business sense”.

Emily Kenward, of Time to Talk Befriending says:

We have been going to the Locality Hubs since the beginning, and every time we have met new people we weren’t connected too. We thought we had a strong network, but it’s a fantastic opportunity for everybody to come together and to actually feel like your work is going to benefit the city. We are joining forces.”

*Brighton and Hove City Council, NHS, community and voluntary sector, faith organisations, the emergency services, social enterprises and the private and independent health and care sectors.