Join our roundtable: Learning from the BIG Lottery Wellbeing portfolio

The What Works Centre for Wellbeing and Ecorys present a roundtable event to share learning from the Wellbeing 2 programme evaluation.

Following Big Lottery Fund’s first Wellbeing programme, which invested £160 million across England to encourage healthy lifestyles and improve wellbeing, an additional £40 million was made available to fund a second phase  which ran from 2013- 2015. Grants were made to 14 portfolios across England managed by a range of charities including Sustrans, the Soil Association, the Foyer Federation, Mind, The Children’s Food Trust and Groundwork.

The aims of the programme were to continue to support communities to create healthier lifestyles and improve their wellbeing in three key areas:

  • Physical activity – children, adults and the wider community being more physically active and experiencing improved access to physical activities.
  • Healthy eating – children, adults and the wider community eating more healthily.
  • Mental wellbeing – children, adults and the wider community having improved mental wellbeing and greater social contact.

We would like to look at the findings and methodology used, then discuss:

  • How the findings can inform policy developments and debate
  • How the findings can be taken forward by different organisations to inform delivery
  • Suggestions for further dissemination audiences

The event  will be held on the 16th March 12-2pm in central London. If you are are a policy official, politician or researcher, commissioner or academic interested in wellbeing and want to take part register interest now.

→Register interestecorys

Pioneer case studies funded through the Big Lottery Wellbeing programme:

→Well LondonBIG

→Wellbeing in the East


What wellbeing means in work and learning

work and learningOur Public Dialogues examined the topic of Work and Learning

In this video, Sharing Work and Learning participants from Falkirk talk about their experiences of the dialogue and what they will take from the process.


Wellbeing in Work and Learning means security, interest, achievement and challenge

jobAs members of the public, we think that having a job is better than no job, and we need to be safe at work and meet basic comforts such as heating and access to toilet facilities. The main value of work for many is financial security, stability and feeling safe. At its best work and learning can bring achievement and opportunity.

Our wellbeing in Work and Learning covers:

  • Work and learning offers achievement, satisfaction, appreciation, pride
  • Work and learning can bring a sense of fulfillment, belonging, shared interest and experience
  • We have a complicated relationship with money and make trade offs
  • Transition points need support

Public dialogues bring together members of the public and policy makers to discuss wellbeing and understand what matters to people.We spoke to a range of policy makers on:

  • why it’s important to talk about wellbeing
  • why are we talking about work and learning
  • about the value the centre can have across the UK
  • importance of dialogues with the public

what works

Discover more about our Public Dialogues:

→Findings summary

→Work and Learning full report

→Technical Appendix

How the latest personal wellbeing dataset can improve policy making

Recently the Office for National Statistics published its latest estimates of personal wellbeing and a three-year analysis of wellbeing by age .

Guest post from ONS Personal Wellbeing measurement team- Links updated 

How can this new dataset can help you in your policy making and evaluation?

Where do these new estimates of personal wellbeing come from? These figures were based on responses from over 300,000 adults in the UK to the ONS four personal wellbeing questions. The responses were collected over a three-year period between 2012 and 2015 from the Annual Population Survey.

What are the benefits of this dataset over the annual one?

Case study one: How do people rate their Personal Wellbeing in your area?lifesat

There is a clear need among the policy-making community for robust estimates of personal wellbeing at a low level of geography. The three-year dataset enables a higher level of precision than is possible from annual datasets. ONS provide reference tables for personal wellbeing ratings broken down by over 10 geographical splits including health and wellbeing boards and local enterprise partnerships .

→To explore the data and find out what personal wellbeing is like broken down by Local Authority District

Case study two: At what age is Personal Wellbeing the highest? The three-year dataset also lends itself to much more detailed sub-group analysis than is possible from the annual release. Up to now, analysis had tended to group together those aged 75 and over. However, the size of this dataset allowed us to look at personal wellbeing ratings in much more detail, including a study of those aged 90 and over

ONS age wb

→How can I get hold of this dataset? The 3 year dataset is available to Government Statistical Service users through contacting the following email address: The dataset can also be accessed under special licence through the UK Data Service

→Further questions? email:

What we are saying about Community Wellbeing counts

Our Public Dialogues looked in part at community
Community wellbeing

Here, the participants from Belfast reflect on discussing community wellbeing in a dialogue setting and the how the findings should be used:


Community wellbeing is about support, belonging, safety.

As members of the public we understand community wellbeing as the links between people living in an area with family, friends, school and work providing the backbone. Community resilience is a sense of pride and belonging to a place with positive interaction between people who help each other, are supportive, respectful and have friendly relationships.

Our community wellbeing includes:active communities

  • Basic needs for good quality of life
  • Our connections with others
  • Practical and emotional support especially when negotiating key life stages
  • Effective communication so we are heard, have a voice and stand for something
  • Feeling inspired, pride and part of something bigger

Public dialogues bring together members of the public and policy makers to discuss wellbeing and understand what matters to people.We spoke to a range of policy makers on:

  • why it’s important to talk about wellbeing
  • why are we talking about community,
  • about the value the centre can have across the UK
  • importance of dialogues with the public

→ Discover more about our Public Dialogues:

→ Findings summary

→Community Public Dialogue

→Technical Appendix

Summary Community Evidence Programme Voice of the User report– Short

→ Community Evidence team Voice of the User Detailed report – Long


Findings from UK wellbeing public dialogues and the Centre’s delivery plan

We have spoken with over 4,000 people and organisations, including many of you, to develop our plans and the areas for our evidence reviews and analysis.

This included six public dialogues across the UK – in Cardiff, South Tyneside, London, Belfast, Bristol and Falkirk –  in each of our initial evidence themes of Community, Work & Learning and Culture & Sport.  Public dialogues bring together members of the public and policy makers to discuss wellbeing and understand what matters to people.PDsummarycover

Today we published our public dialogue findings alongside feedback from people working on wellbeing and set out our first delivery plan until June 2018.

→ See today’s findings                                                                                       
Key to wellbeing are:

  • feeling safe, financially comfortable, good physical and mental health, good food, job, housing, natural environment and transport
  • feeling loved, respected and appreciated, belonging, positive connections,                   time alone, appreciation of difference and feeling part of something bigger
  • feeling fulfilled, achievement, inspiration, recognition, fun, learning,                     opportunity, control, agency and choice

→ Public dialogue reports and technical appendices

We are also publishing our delivery plan, along with the Community Voice of the User report and a short course on Wellbeing in Policy and Practice :

→Delivery plan

Community Voice of the user report

Wellbeing in Policy and Practice course

→Press release


Leading on mental wellbeing: transforming the role of line managers

Louise Aston - Wellbeing Director BITC

Louise Aston, Wellbeing Director, Business in the Community  on a new report which calls for better support for line managers on employee mental wellbeing and for businesses to introduce Mental Health First Aid training for line managers.

Today (4th February), Business in the Community’s wellbeing campaign publishes a new report calling on businesses to do more to support line managers in promoting mental wellbeing in the workplace.
The report, ‘Leading on mental wellbeing: transforming the role of line managers’, calls on all businesses to sign up to the Time to Change organisational pledge and to introduce Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training for managers.
We want to shift perceptions about the crucial role of line managers in improving employee mental wellbeing and business productivity. We’re encouraging employers to enable line managers to improve their own and others’ employee wellbeing for the benefit of their peers, their organisation and society.
The report is being launched at a ‘Leading on Mental Wellbeing’ event hosted by Royal Mail, with speakers including Luciana Berger MP, Shadow Cabinet Minister for Mental Health; Moya Greene, CEO, Royal Mail Group; Peter Simpson, CEO, Anglian Water Group; Peter Cheese, CEO, CIPD; Poppy Jarman, CEO, Mental Health First Aid; and Paul Farmer CBE, CEO, Mind.
The launch coincides with Time to Talk Day, which highlights the importance of having open and regular conversations around mental health. This is significant as talking about mental health is exactly what we want line managers to do with their team members. After all, you can’t manage what you can’t talk about. However, many line managers lack confidence to discuss mental health issues with their team members. That’s why we need employers to embed cultural change throughout their organisations which gives line managers the support they need.
MHFA training, a licensed training product, can be accessed through qualified practitioners including Mental Health First Aid England, Mind and Maudsley Learning. Courses range from MHFA Lite, a three hour introductory course to a MHFA Standard two day training course. Business in the Community also offers MHFA training as part of our wellbeing membership offer – you can find out more about becoming a member of the campaign on our website.
Offering MHFA training is valuable for developing mental health literacy and one way of enabling managers to spot early warning signs of mental ill health and building confidence to signpost people to appropriate sources of support – and is particularly relevant when set against a rise in common conditions such as stress, anxiety and depression. Our aim is to make talking about mental health business as usual.

However, there is not a magic bullet, and wellbeing must be at the core of organisational culture. Business in the Community’s Workwell model provides a strategic framework for embedding wellbeing into any organisation and covers how employers can create an environment where employees can make informed, healthy choices. By improving support for employees, in alignment with the Workwell model, employers can benefit from increased productivity.
Line managers are increasingly squeezed with pressure from above and below, and more managers are experiencing stress-related ill-health. Long hours form a significant part of this, with three in five managers concerned how long hours impact their stress levels. Senior leaders must ensure managers have what they need to maintain their own wellbeing, as without this they will not be able to maintain the wellbeing of their team members.

The role of line managers is key to making talking about health the norm in the workplace. This transformation requires a significant commitment from senior leaders – but it’s vital if we’re going to prevent employees suffering in silence.

Below are our recommendations for employers wanting to create more open workplaces and support line managers’ role in this:
• Sign up to the Time to Change organisational pledge to tackle mental health stigma.
• Use the Workwell Model’s ‘Working Well’ module to position mental health as a boardroom issue, on a par with physical health.
• Communicate that mental wellbeing is key for productivity and maximising performance.
• Make employee wellbeing a core part of line manager job responsibilities, and provide line managers with the necessary time, resources and training.
• Recruit, promote and support line managers with excellent interpersonal skills, and/or cultivate these skills as part of their ongoing professional development.
• Support line managers to maintain their own wellbeing.
• Make Mental Health First Aid training available to line managers.
• Develop and promote clear referral or assistance pathways so line managers can take appropriate action to support employees.

→ full report and call to action Print