The Well London Programme started in 2007 and has run since then. It has been funded by the national lottery and consists of a series of programmes run in 20 of London's most deprived areas. It was devised in the context of the Mayor of London's health inequalities strategy and was led by an alliance of representatives covering major development priorities for London. The programme was delivered by the Well London Alliance which is a partnership between the Arts Council England, Central YMCA, Groundwork London, the London Sustainability Exchange, South: London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and the University of East London. It was originally led by the London Health Commission and hosted by the Greater London Authority.
Some of the major objectives of the project were to: increase levels of healthy eating, physical activity and mental health, especially among those who have experienced barriers to accessing services in the past; increase levels of responsiveness of local service deliverers to community need; build the knowledge and skills of local residents and communities in order to improve their own wellbeing and promote a sense of community; help make the community engage more meaningfully by mobilising participants who would not otherwise take part. The primary focus was connected with physical activity, use of open spaces, healthy eating, mental wellbeing, local environments, arts and culture.
Results and impact
The official evaluation of Phase 1 (2007-2011) considered impact at several levels: individual 'participant' level, project level, programme level, community level and whole population wide level.
There was strong qualitative and some quantitative evidence of important positive impacts for local people who participated directly in the programme activities on a range of health and well-being indicators. This impact appeared to be greater for those local people who got involved in organising and delivering programme activities - a key feature of the Well London approach. It was found that programme had very positive impacts in improving diet and physical activities. Improvements in mental wellbeing (86%), physical activity (83%), and healthy eating (60%) were reported by participants, as well as improved community cohesion and increased life skills through training and volunteering opportunities.
There were also promising findings relating to impact at project, programme and community levels. There was little evidence of significant positive impact at the whole population level in phase 1, except for significant positive findings relating to reductions in unhealthy eating and people in the neighbourhood pulling together more (one of the social cohesion measures). However areas where there were higher levels of exposure to the intervention showed some significantly better outcomes at the wider population level.
Overall, findings from the evaluation of phase 1 provide some encouraging evidence that the Well London framework works to improve the health and well-being of participants and potentially the wider population where higher levels of participation are achieved through the local programmes.
Type of activity
Programmes promoting activity