Well London is taking a radical community development approach to improving health and well-being in the most disadvantaged areas. Funded by the BIG Lottery Fund, managed by the Greater London Authority and suppoorted by the Mayor of London, the programme has taken place in 29 of London’s most deprived neighbourhoods across 20 boroughs since it started in 2007.
Well London provides a framework for integrating work with disadvantaged communities at neighbourhood level. It engages and empowers people to build and strengthen the foundations of good health and well-being in their communities through community action, capacity building and development. It addresses the wider issues that residents identify as priorities, such as social isolation and poor local environments that make it harder for people to adopt healthier lifestyles.
Well London comprises a suite of projects that build skills, knowledge and confidence through training, volunteering and apprenticeships. Peer to peer approaches are used that recognise that the best people to act as sign-posters and advocates for health and well-being related activities may not be paid professionals but other local residents.
Programmes are currently taking place in 11 neighbourhoods across 9 London boroughs, including Brent, Tower Hamlets, Lewisham and Greenwich, and a primary care based programme in Newham.
Most programmes have been commissioned by local authorities who provide oversight and additional resources. This locally commissioned model also means that programmes can incorporate local priorities. The programme is underpinned by robust research and evaluation led by University of East London.