New research to understand what makes us feel good
The Leeds Beckett team will be working on one of four research programmes, run by the What Works Centre for Wellbeing, together with the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), which aim to understand what really works in improving the wellbeing of people in the UK.
The researchers, including Leeds Beckett’s Professor of Healthy Communities, Jane South, and led by Professor Peter Kinderman at the University of Liverpool, will form a national team, investigating what makes local communities happy places to live.
During the course of the three-year project, the researchers will be holding events in Leeds and across the country which investigate what wellbeing means to communities and then interpreting academic evidence to understand more about what works for community wellbeing.
Professor Jane South commented: “It is great news to be part of this high profile research project which is focused on the part communities play in wellbeing and will have a direct impact on how national and local policy is made. It’s important for public policy that we get much better evidence about what makes us happy and able to function well in addition to what makes us wealthy or live longer. Within our research Institute for Health and Wellbeing at Leeds Beckett University we have a range of expertise about what contributes to healthy and flourishing communities. We’re really looking forward to building on this by engaging with more members of the public, professionals and other academics to understand what works for wellbeing.”
Professor Peter Kinderman added: “I’m thrilled to lead the communities evidence programme of the Wellbeing What Works Centre. It was four years ago that the Office for National Statistics began measuring wellbeing, at the behest of the Prime Minister. Now it’s time to start using that data to really understand what can be done to improve wellbeing for everyone in the UK.”
The What Works Centre for Wellbeing communities evidence programme sets out to discover: how do the places we live, and our participation in local decision-making, influence personal and community wellbeing? Indeed, what does community wellbeing mean? What can be done to improve wellbeing by voluntary organisations, businesses, local and central government?
It aims to enable policy-makers, local authorities, employers and others to use evidence of wellbeing impact in decision-making and to improve people’s lives, by translating academic evaluation of wellbeing measures into easy-to-use information about effectiveness, cost and applicability.
Photo: Professor Jane South