Month: January 2017

Lifelong learning: what are the wellbeing co-benefits?

The Government’s recently published Industrial Strategy, now out to consultation, indicated a shift towards embedding lifelong learning to help people retrain in new skills and adapt to rapid changes in technology.  What the strategy misses is how learning directly, and indirectly, affects our wellbeing. There are 1.9 million adults enrolled in further education colleges, according to the Association of Colleges. And thousands of employees in the UK participate in work-based training and development courses each year. When we spoke with the people around the UK about wellbeing, the most commonly used word was ‘opportunity’.  What you told us about learning, work and wellbeing was that: work and learning offers achievement, satisfaction, appreciation, pride work and learning can bring a sense of fulfillment, belonging, shared interest and experience transition points (such as going into and out of retirement) need support. What’s more, learning is also one of the evidence-based Five Ways to Wellbeing along with give, connect, take notice and be active. And the obvious goal of the countless courses and training on offer appear to be improving they way we work, or changing our work completely. But the evidence reveals that learning has an interesting and complex relationship with wellbeing. In the short term, the impact on wellbeing can be negative. Meeting essay deadlines or taking exams, for example, can increase stress or reduce social interactions with friends, which are...

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Five ways to Wellbeing in the UK

The Five Ways to Wellbeing are a set of evidence-based actions which promote people’s wellbeing. Whilst not claiming to be the biggest determinants of wellbeing, it’s a set of simple things individuals can do in their everyday lives. They were developed by the New Economics Foundation and based on the findings of the 2008 Government Office for Science Foresight report on Mental Capital and Wellbeing that aimed to develop a long term vision for maximising wellbeing in the UK. They are Connect Be Active Take Notice Keep Learning Give The 5 ways to wellbeing are integral to many activities that we care about and enjoy. Since their publication, the five ways have had an enormous reach, being used as evaluation frameworks, in school curriculums and by local authorities . They have formed the basis to specific interventions to improve wellbeing that we will be reviewing as part of our community wellbeing programme.  In 2012, the European Social Survey was the first major survey to include questions directly on the five ways to wellbeing, allowing exploration of patterns of five ways behaviours across Europe for the first time. The Making Wellbeing Count for Policy research by Cambridge University, City University and the New Economics Foundation looked at this rich survey data and found: People in the UK have low levels of participation in the five ways to wellbeing, compared to...

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First quarterly UK personal wellbeing update to September 2016

  Average ratings of anxiety increased slightly between the years ending September 2015 and 2016.   Wales was the only country to have higher anxiety ratings than the UK average.         Average life satisfaction, worthwhile and happiness ratings were unchanged between the years ending September 2015 and 2016.           New rolling quarterly updates Measuring personal well-being can help us understand how changes in circumstance, policies and wider events in society may affect people’s lives, perhaps more so than traditional economic measures. Up to now, the current publication of official well-being statistics by the Office for National Statistics only allowed for changes in personal well-being to be assessed once a year.  With growing demand for timely statistics ONS reduced the lag from the end of the reporting period to 4 months from 6 months. And we look forward to more improvements to the timeliness of these statistics. In a bid to make the personal wellbeing data more usable by the public and policy makers alike, ONS are publishing for the first time today, annual UK and country estimates for the 4 personal wellbeing questions on a rolling quarterly basis. Personal well-being data will, going forward, be published 4 times a year. Today’s publication contains data from year ending March 2012 to year ending September...

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Housing and wellbeing: special focus

To kick off 2017 we are publishing our scoping review on housing and wellbeing. It looks at what we know and where the gaps are. It also sets out what our focus will be for our upcoming systematic review on housing later this year. We’re focusing on housing and wellbeing because that’s what emerged as a priority area for a range of stakeholders in our public dialogues. Read the full scoping review or the four-page briefing.     What does the English Housing Survey tell us about housing and wellbeing? This week the What Works Centre for Wellbeing shares a new scoping review on housing and wellbeing. To mark this focus on communities and the built environment, we’re sharing a blog from the English Housing Survey Team in Department for Communities and Local Government. Earlier in 2016, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) in collaboration with ZK Analytics and NatCen, published a report on housing and well-being. The report analyses life satisfaction and anxiety as measured by the ONS personal well-being questions. It also uses the English Housing Survey (EHS) to identify the personal characteristics and housing factors associated with wellbeing. Using a series of linear regressions, the report assesses the strength of housing factors in relation to that of personal characteristics. Because the EHS includes both an interview with the members of the household and a physical...

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