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The Online Care Support Service (OCS)

Social Isolation is a condition which affects over half of all people over the age of 75 years old. An afflicted person exists in a state of complete or near-complete lack of contact with people and society.  The effects of Social Isolation can be quite critical in that the affected person exists in a state of diminishing mental and emotional wellbeing. They are also more susceptible to both mental and physical illness. In most cases the individual is suffering from depression and experiencing a sense of loss and exclusion.

Social Isolation increases mortality by some 26% and is said to be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

The causes of the condition are many, retirement, death of a spouse, moving to a new location or country, perceived cultural difference, lack of disposable funds or poverty, inadequate housing or living in a deprivated environment.  Many people will recognise many of these symptoms if not in their own lives, in others. Though it is recognised that the most susceptible group is the elderly, the condition is known to affect people of any age group, geographic region or social status. It is therefore quite a complex condition.  Currently available treatments involve providing opportunities for the affected individual to attain increased Social Integration through group activities and to increase both physical and mental activity.

However attention also needs to be given to some of the root causes of the condition such as poverty, inadequate housing, cultural segregation.

The Online Care Support service will have a capacity to address many of these issues and others in a cost-efficient and effective manner, through increased individual capability, use of available technology, along with the provision of relevant support services delivered in an online form.

It is the intention to establish this service as a viable, affordable and easily accessible early stage treatment intervention in the alleviation and prevention of Social Isolation while working to provide programs which directly address some of the root causes of the condition. 

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Status of Project

We are currently recruiting the volunteers for this project.  The project is being marketed around Leeds and we are also in the process of identifying potential beneficiaries.   

Project Goal

The key aim of the project is to create a service that provides a cost effective engagement platform to ensure the vulnerable elderly population does not suffer the adverse affects of social isolation .


The Online Care Support project is Sponsored by STORM Global Network and supported by UnLtd in partnership with Leeds Community Foundation

Key Roles within Project

The OCS  team comprises of 6  key roles that deliver essential support

1. Project Manager

2. Outreach Volunteers

3. In Home PC Trainers

4. Needs Assessment Volunteer

5. Online Care Support Volunteers

6. Media Volunteers

Project Delivery

This project will be delivered between August 2018- August 2019.   We aim to finish recruitment of volunteers, and selection of beneficiaries by end of August 2018.  After that the training will be delivered to all beneficiaries and the Online Care Support Service will be active.  We will monitor the impact of the service over the course of the year, and report on the findings on completion.