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April 2022

Briefing: Neighbourhood influence on culture, arts and community engagement

Briefing: Neighbourhood influence on culture, arts and community engagement
In partnership with

The big picture

Arts, cultural and community engagement positively influences our wellbeing in multiple ways. Participating in these activities can improve life satisfaction, mental health functioning and physical health.

Researchers have found that the positive relationship between arts, cultural or heritage attendance and wellbeing exists regardless of where people live.

However, people living in hard-pressed communities, deprived and multicultural areas are less likely to engage than those living in wealthier, cosmopolitan or countryside areas, and this is after factoring in individual characteristics like age, gender, ethnicity, partnership status, educational level, socio-economic status, monthly income, etc.

It is possible that in deprived areas, lower engagement is a result of a combination of factors such as:

  • Less availability of or accessibility to arts and cultural offerings (opportunity)
  • Less affordable options for people living in those areas (capability)
  • Specific social norms of people living in these areas (motivation) (1)
Close The big picture

Types of community engagement

How our mental health and wellbeing benefit from community engagement

Wellbeing benefits are independent of regional location (5)

Engagement levels vary geographically (7)

People in depraved areas engage less, regardless of their socioeconomic status (8)

Possible reasons for low engagement in deprived areas (3, 8)

Implications for policy and practice

Social prescribing

Data and methods


You may also wish to read the blog article on this document.

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