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The State of Happiness brings together four years of groundbreaking work based on in-depth pilots – from teaching resilience to children in schools to promoting neighbourliness – with three councils in very different areas of the country: Manchester, Hertfordshire and South Tyneside.This report from the Young Foundation and Local Government and Improvement highlights that promoting and influencing happiness is no longer an airy aspiration. As the recession forces difficult public spending choices, services focused on wellbeing are delivering widespread economic and social benefits – especially to children.
Parenting and wellbeing: knitting families together argues that parenting support often fails because it ignores the wellbeing of parents themselves. The report draws on extensive national and international research, and a detailed investigation of parenting support in three very different parts of England: Hertfordshire, South Tyneside and Manchester. It recommends a range of approaches including involving parents, carers and children and young people in the design of family support. The government should establish a fund to encourage innovation in parenting support for projects aimed at all parents, not just those facing acute problems.
All over the world communities are grappling with two different agendas: on the one hand how to make their areas environmentally sustainable; on the other how to promote the wellbeing of local residents. Sometimes these agendas reinforce each other. But sometimes they clash. This discussion paper explores ways in which local government can use practical initiatives that support wellbeing as a way to encourage local residents to be more green. It is based on a review of activities in three very different parts of England – Hertfordshire, Manchester and South Tyneside – and discussions with a number of local government representatives and environmental sustainability experts. This work came out of the Local Wellbeing Project, a unique initiative working with three local authorities to test out practical ways of improving wellbeing.
This document sets out research and recommendations for a school-based approach to promote emotional wellbeing amongst children and young people in Buckinghamshire. It focuses on supporting schools and local agencies to promote mental health interventions to boost mental wellbeing of children and young people and reduce the likelihood of poor mental health outcomes. Our research with practitioners, children and young people in Buckinghamshire highlighted seven key themes, which are addressed in this document. We have recommended activities and interventions to support these themes. In addition, each recommendation is linked to the five ways to wellbeing. ‘Examples from elsewhere’ highlight interventions that have been developed and delivered across the country. In considering what could be done in Buckinghamshire, the research gave rise to a number of underpinning principles, which point the way to increased wellbeing for children and young people.
The story of Zoe and Hasan aims to highlight the potential of Health and Wellbeing boards. Showing some of the many different factors which influence our health and wellbeing, it also talks of the different external interventions and personal resilience that can help to boost it. Their story is based on interviews with families across the country and Health and Wellbeing Board members. Zoe and Hasan’s story has been commissioned by the Local Government Association (LGA) to help explain the role and potential impact of the new Health and Wellbeing boards. Health and Wellbeing boards are being established across the country under the Health and Social Care Act 2012. They are a new type of forum, bringing together key leaders within local areas to focus on improving the health and wellbeing of their residents.
The project, funded by Comic Relief, developed and piloted a service to improve the wellbeing and resilience of people aged 65 and over who were experiencing isolation, mild anxiety or depression. The project was a collaboration between the Young Foundation, Age UK and Dr Chris Williams, Consultant Psychiatrist to the University of Glasgow. Local volunteers, recruited through existing Age UK networks and wider local outreach, have been trained to run local peer discussion groups around a set of supporting materials. The course has been developed specifically for elderly populations, based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Positive Psychology methods of ‘helping people to help themselves’.
The aim of the Beyond GDP project is to expand our understanding of how we measure societal progress at a local level- in other words, to go beyond monetary measurements to look at the many other aspects which affect quality of life. On a broader level, we would like to encourage greater use, consistency and development of measures of social progress across municipalities, cities and regions. This report sets out guiding principles to develop a conceptual framework for non-monetary measurement. The work here builds on the Wellbeing and Resilience Measure (WARM) which was developed by The Young Foundation in November 2010. The WARM Framework can be populated with existing data from a range of sources to illustrate where notable data-gathering gaps might be. Data is mapped at the European, national, and local levels. The framework is then further refined through the use of case studies (ie, does what the data map tell us and what the case studies tell us seem to be in line with each other?). Our findings so far suggest that the existing administrative infrastructure provides a good foundation to develop a common conceptual framework to measure social progress at a local level, and the data is there as well. However, there are many key terms which have different definitions across the relevant areas, which is a problem to overcome. This report outlines our recommendations on how to respond to this challenge, and build on the aspiration to provide a common understanding of social progress at a local level.
In recent decades increased mobility, longer life expectancy and the breakdown of the extended family have changed the way we live our lives, and the extent to which we are able to be ‘neighbourly’. This think-piece reviews the way people interact with their neighbours (neighbouring) in contemporary Britain and questions whether we still need good neighbouring relationships (neighbourliness) to improve our wellbeing and our happiness. It explores what we know about neighbouring and identifies issues for further research.
In Summer 2010, the Young Foundation worked with Wiltshire Council to develop new approaches to improve wellbeing and transform service delivery by removing the duplication that can arise where citizens interact with multiple agencies. The Young Foundation worked with community members, local service providers and vulnerable families in Bemerton Heath, a housing estate in Salisbury. Our work assessed levels of wellbeing as well as the capacity of the community to enhance their own wellbeing and to support vulnerable families on the estate. This report sets the findings from our work and includes recommendations on how the community and service providers can meet this ambitious agenda. The report also makes recommendations about how the learning can be applied to other areas of Wiltshire, as part of the Total Place agenda.