Month: October 2016

Call for evidence: Organisations as social communities and wellbeing

Deadline: 15th of November 2016 How do you feel about the organisation you work for? Not your colleagues, staff or line manager, but the organisation itself? The What Works Centre for Wellbeing is calling for employees and employers to share qualitative or quantitative evaluations that helps build an evidence base about the social aspects of the relationship between workers, an organisation and wellbeing. Why do we need your evidence? We want to find out whether interventions aimed at improving social relationships and climates in organisations promote wellbeing and performance. And what factors affect the impact of these interventions.  For example, are interventions more effective when targeted or carried out in a particular way, or for a particular group? Does the type of organisation make a difference? Some examples of an intervention could be improving communications, any team or company activities, even changing the structure of ‘breakout’ office spaces. We are not exploring the social relationships between workers, their co-workers and their line managers. Rather, we are specifically interested in the relationship between workers and the organisational as a whole, including: The extent to which workers feel that the organisation values workers’ contributions and cares for workers’ wellbeing. The general social atmosphere at work, including social recognition and acknowledgement. Workers’ sense of belonging to a workplace community and how embedded they feel in the workplace. Fairness in how rewards such as pay and promotions are...

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How can we tell our story if we’re not measuring what we do?

Samir Singh has worked on community development projects for Arsenal in the Community – the community delivery arm of Arsenal Football Club – since 2006. He is working at What Works Wellbeing on secondment as a Clore Social Leadership Fellow, with a research focus on community wellbeing. Now five weeks into my research at What Works Centre for Wellbeing, the time I have been afforded to step back, think about and reflect on my community-based work has been invaluable. I am working on two distinct projects. Firstly to answer the question: “How can, and why should, Arsenal in the Community measure wellbeing?” Secondly, I am speaking to the voluntary and community sector in Islington to find out if they consider themselves to be delivering wellbeing outcomes, even if they are not currently measuring them. It’s an exciting time to be a part of this: the work of the Centre is rapidly evolving and the first batch of evidence from the research teams is about to be published. I have approached the secondment with an open mind; eager to learn about wellbeing, but remaining rooted in practice. My focus is always on how a wellbeing approach can be relevant to real life for those working on the ground in the third sector. So far, there are elements that I remain sceptical about but there is far more that is very...

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Evidence call: evaluation reports for sport/dance, young people and wellbeing

Deadline: 7 November 2016 Evidence call for grey literature: part of a systematic review of the wellbeing outcomes of sport and dance in young people (age 15 -24 years) and the processes by which wellbeing outcomes are achieved If you are an organisation that has an evaluation of a sport, physical activity or dance intervention aimed at young people (15-24 years old), you can submit it to our systematic review and help us build an evidence base for wellbeing, sport and young people. We will share the findings of the systematic review with your organisation as soon as the review is published. What’s happening? What Works Centre for Wellbeing, with Brunel University London, are carrying out a systematic review to evaluate the subjective wellbeing outcomes in healthy young people of participation in sport and/or dance activities in club and non-club contexts. We are also seeking to establish if the informal aspect of sport or dance participation is more likely to lead to wellbeing enhancement than participation in club-based sport and dance. What do you need to do? Please email us any evaluation reports, or links to evaluation reports. We will then use it as part of the grey literature review of the study. By grey literature, we mean “literature that is not formally published in sources such as books or journal articles” (Lefebvre, Manheimer, & Glanville, 2008, p. 106). This...

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Children’s mental wellbeing and ill-health: not two sides of the same coin

To mark World Mental Health Day,  we invited Dr Praveetha Patalay to speak about a fascinating longitudinal study being carried out with children across the country. Dr Patalay is a lecturer at the University of Liverpool and an honorary researcher at the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS). This research was carried out as part of the CLS’ Cross-Cohort Research Programme, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. If I asked you what makes a child happy, one possible answer would be the opposite of what makes them sad. This would be considered a non-controversial response. The intuitive assumption when considering subjective wellbeing and psychological distress is that factors associated with one are associated with the other – albeit in the opposite direction. But what if we’re wrong? What if wellbeing and mental illness, or happy and sad, are not two sides of the same mental health coin? We set out to investigate this question using data from more than 12,000 children born across the UK in 2000-01 who are taking part in the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS). Our findings show that in children, it is sometimes the case that factors affecting mental illness also affect wellbeing (see common area in centre of the diagram above), for example, being in a single parent household, having problems getting along with peers, arguing with parents and experiencing sibling bullying are all associated with greater symptoms...

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Developing wellbeing frameworks for cities and regions

Rebekah Menzies, of Carnegie UK Trust talks about their new report that explores how local authorities can be supported by a wellbeing framework that address their particular challenges, and calls for good practice examples. The use of wellbeing frameworks, at all levels of government and across the world, is still in its infancy. However, we at the Carnegie UK Trust know that implementing a wellbeing framework can have a transformative effect on governance, allowing for greater transparency and accountability, and more joined-up working and public sector reform. We have actively supported governments across the UK to develop wellbeing frameworks to guide policy making. Most recently, the Trust has supported the Northern Ireland Executive to place wellbeing at the heart of its work through the new Programme for Government. But wellbeing approaches shouldn’t be restricted to a jurisdictional level. The OECD describes wellbeing as ‘a description of social progress in terms of improvements in quality of life, material conditions and sustainability’ (OECD, How’s Life?). While policies at jurisdictional levels are important for these factors, individual wellbeing is also shaped at a very localised level. The Carnegie UK Trust recognises this through our work on Flourishing Towns. Where we live – the very streets and neighbourhoods – matter and have an impact on our wellbeing. In this regard, city and regional-level governments have an important role to play in promoting wellbeing. Given the dominant focus...

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