Recent research has revealed that the St Vincent de Paul Society in England and Wales generates £11m per year in economic welfare improvement through its befriending programmes.
A study carried out by Oxera, Europe’s leading economics consultancy, examined in detail the wider economic impacts of visiting and befriending (visiting vulnerable people in their homes, in care homes, and hospital), which result in improved mental health, better navigation of ‘the system’, and direct provision of daily necessities. These benefits reduce costs to the NHS, improve quality of life for beneficiaries, improve labour market outcomes, and reduce the cost of social services. Oxera calculated that the overall economic benefit amounted to £11m per year, which equates to a benefit-cost ratio of 2.87. Given that this estimate covers only a small proportion of the benefits that occur from visiting and befriending, it is likely to be conservative.