Welsh natural resources improve wellbeing

Our pioneer case study this week looks to Wales and the Come outside!IMG_0284 programme which encourages people to get out and about to enjoy the natural resources. The programme aims to remove barriers and support people to use the natural environment to increase physical activity, improve skills, confidence, and overall wellbeing. This pioneer shows a great use of piloting and scaling ideas.

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We here at the What Works Centre for Wellbeing are also getting out and about to meet as many people as we can. We’re putting the wants and needs of our audience at the heart of what we do. In the last few weeks we’ve been inspired by the people we’ve met in Wales and Northern Ireland. We’re holding a roundtable discussion examining wellbeing in Scotland on the 24th March and visiting Doncaster on the 26th March to look at what’s happening locally and talk to practitioners and policy makers to inform our work. Event details.

Measuring the wellbeing of young people- NPC’s Dan Corry

Today we have a guest blog from Dan Corry, the Chief Executive of NPC reflecting on the measurement of young people’s wellbeing.
Our pioneer case study looks at the  NPC measure in more depth

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Dan Corry, Chief Executive NPC

DanMany of the charities we work with at NPC are trying in different ways to improve the wellbeing of one group or other. But perhaps nowhere is it more important than in thinking about children. Well-being is strongly connected to concepts like resilience, self esteem and self worth, qualities that if present can lead to a fulfilling life whatever the knock backs. Their absence can make for a very difficult future.

The general concept of well-being has enjoyed political backing at the highest level. Yet despite experts agreeing that young people’s school achievement is linked to their well-being. and the efforts of charities like the Children’s Society, we are still frustratingly short of finding an effective way to measure and monitor well-being among children, and to giving it the prominence in policy-making it deserves.

Ofsted have not helped in this. Since 2011 they have shifted their focus towards ‘academic excellence’ and increasingly away from what the Secretary of State disregarded as ‘peripherals’. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has started to measure adult well-being, but is only scoping how to apply this process to children.

Here at NPC we have tried to fill this space by creating something that is easy to use for charities and others, and is academically rigorous . We launched our own Well-being Measure in 2011, after three years developing and piloting the content. Adapting years of work by researchers and academics, it uses a simple online questionnaire to assess the well-being of 11-16 year-olds under eight criteria: self-esteem; emotional well-being; resilience; satisfaction with friends, family, community and school; and life satisfaction.

This means taking an entirely subjective approach, with young people asked to record how they feel about aspects of their lives. This contrasts with ONS proposals, for example, which would focus only on objective measures like sports participation and health. The ideal would be to combine the two—but it should be noted that there has been increasing recognition of the value of subjective approaches in recent years.

Since 2011, our Well-being Measure has been used by more than 50 charities, schools and local authorities, typically to measure the well-being of children both before and after an activity or intervention. This gives some sense of the impact that activity has had on their lives—and in the last three years, the Measure has helped us learn more about the well-being of around 7,000 young people.

Analysing this data, some of the results paint a reassuring picture of children’s lives. Family and friends play an important role. Very large percentages respond positively to statements about them: for example, 90% agreed ‘my friends are great’, 93% ‘I have a lot of fun with my friends, 86% ‘my parents treat me fairly’.

But at the other end of the scale, the greatest dissatisfaction is linked to local community and anxiety. Only 48% agreed that ‘there are lots of fun things to do where I lived’, while 35% children said they ‘worried a lot’ and 24% agreed ‘I am nervous or tense’. Analysis of the data also suggests some alarming fall-offs in well-being for girls in their teenage years, perhaps due to the pressures posed through new technology and abuse or coercion through social media.

We are continuing to develop the Well-being Measure and apply it in new settings. Since last year we have been working with the London Mayor’s Fund to measure change among young people involved in their Be the Best you can Be! programme. It is also being adapted for use with the Tri-Borough London authorities—Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Kensington and Chelsea—so that it can work with children with special needs. (edited to add this is now available).

Measuring well-being is a process which probably never finishes. It’ll always need adaptations and tweaks along the way, so that we can catch as much high-quality, useable data as possible. But at a time when the connections between happiness, achievement and prosperity are under discussion, NPC is proud to have started taking those steps.

Community wellbeing

Here at the What Works Centre for Wellbeing, we think communities are really important to improving wellbeing,  they’re the focus of one of our programmes of evidence.
kfenton blog

Public Health England has today launched a guide to  community centred approaches to health and wellbeing.

 

Pkfphoto-e1379332487234-147x150rofessor Kevin Fenton , the Public Health England National Director for Health and Wellbeing  blogged about why communities matter to health.

 

Our pioneer this week reflects the community approach to improving wellbeing, Well London who’s vision is : A world city of empowered local communities, who have the skills and confidence to take control of and improve their individual and collective health and well-being.

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Finally, a reminder that the deadline for applications to become one of our trustees is the 16th Feb at 8am.

Time to Talk Day 5 February 2015

5 ways to wellbeing postcardsConnect, Take Notice  and Keep Learning are 3 of the 5 ways to Wellbeing, today’s post combines the three.

Today is Time to Talk Day lead by the Time to Change campaign urging people to break the silence that surrounds mental health by having a 5 minute conversation

TimetoTalk

  • Having a mental health problem is hard enough but sometimes the isolation and stigma can make it even worse.
  • Talking about mental health doesn’t need to be difficult and can make a big difference. #TimetoTalk

This  BIG blog post from the BIG Lottery is focused on the challenges faced by projects working with people suffering from mental health issues.

 

There is just over a week left for applications to become one of our Trustees. The deadline is 16th Feb.

 

Our Pioneer case study shares the borough-wide approach of Lambeth and Southwark’s Wellbeing programme.

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Ageing Better

Last week we talked about out wellbeing for children and young people, this week we’re thinking about older people.

Yesterday saw the launch of the Centre for Ageing Better, a fellow What Works Centre who have received £50million from the Big Lottery Fund. The Centre’s primary aim will be to support a good quality of life in older age and promote the benefits of an ageing society by bridging the gap between research, evidence and practice.

Our pioneer case study  this week focuses on wellbeing for older people, showcasing the Age UK project Fit for Future based in Rotherham.

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