Health and Wellbeing Surveys

Research

We undertook an initial survey in September 2014 (see the report here) and a follow up in November 2016 (see the report here) to identify the contribution voluntary and community groups (VCOs) make to health and wellbeing. Dorset Community Action also undertook a similar survey of groups operating in the county (see the report here). In summary:

  • Almost all VCOs consider they improve health and wellbeing
  • About 1 in 4 VCOs only operate at the neighbourhood level, but most work across Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole with 1 in 4 working beyond Dorset as well.
  • About a third of VCOs work with the general public and about one in 5 with those with health related needs
  • VCOs tend to offer a wide range of services and activities (an average of 3 per VCO), even to very specific users, aiming to work holistically and individually with their users often providing:
  • advice and information
  • opportunities to volunteer
  • social activities
  • basic requirements (such as food, clothing, money/benefits, often a determinate of good health)
  • healthy activities/behaviour, particularly diet and exercise.
  • 75% of VCOs work with adults across the age range.
  • The median number of users per month is between 52 and 80. If a figure of 50 is used then the 725 charities in Bournemouth and Poole are being used by 36,250 users per month.
  • The most frequent differences VCOs see in their users are:
  • Reduced isolation and increased connectedness to their communities
  • Improved confidence and self-esteem
  • Increased independence, empowerment and resilience
  • Feeling better supported
  • Increase in fun, enjoyment and wellbeing.
  • Increase in healthy behaviours
  • Improved learning and employability
  • 80% of VCOs state their work improves users’ experience of fun, enjoyment and feel-good factor
  • A significant investment is being made each year by VCOs in health and wellbeing:
  • Spend about £14.5 million
  • 783,000 volunteer hours (replacement value of almost £7 million)
  • 1,140,000 staffing hours, equivalent to 592 full time posts.

We undertook 40 in depth interviews researching how groups contribute to health and wellbeing (see the report here).