Published on St David’s Day by the Mental Health Foundation, this report evaluates the Standing Together Cymru (STC) project, the culmination of three years of work which adapted to meet the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Funded by the Welsh Big Lottery and working in partnership with housing associations in South East Wales, STC was established with the aims of reducing the loneliness and isolation of participants and improving their emotional wellbeing.
The project facilitated connections between tenants through meaningful activity and covered 22 housing schemes, supporting the 211 tenants who live there.
The Project Evaluation highlights the importance of addressing loneliness by building social connections and showed that whilst physical health challenges increased during the lifespan of the project, wellbeing was maintained – a noteworthy outcome, given the circumstances around the Covid-19 pandemic.
It concludes that a peer support group is working effectively when its participants feel seen, heard and safe. For this to happen, trust and rapport must be built and maintained from the outset to support the group dynamics.
When this is achieved it results in not only a decline in feelings of social isolation and loneliness, but also in a positive impact on wellbeing.