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Building a successful health and wellbeing project

Elements of successful health and wellbeing projects
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Factors for a successful wellbeing project

Ten key success factors for projects we’ve identified from our recent health and wellbeing programme evaluations are:

  1. Think strategically
    Make sure you understand how your project fits in with local and regional health and social priorities, and look for potential partners who can help support or promote your project. Find out more about how to influence and get involved in the health commissioning structures (PDF 374KB)
  2. Be community-led
    Work with beneficiaries and local groups, services and organisations to find the best ways for your project to:
    • engage with and contribute to the community
    • gain the confidence of local people
    • build strong relationships across the sectors.
  3. Engage volunteers
    Train and invest in volunteers so they can learn new skills and help deliver activities. Involving local people in your project will add value, capacity and a peer-support element, which can help motivate participants.
  4. Know your beneficiaries
    Identify and continuously involve your target audience in your project development to make sure it:
    • is tailored to suit them
    • has the support of those you need to help engage with your target audience (e.g. parents, community workers and volunteers)
    • includes those who also may indirectly benefit from the project.
  5. Apply skills and learning
    Supporting people to learn new skills helps increase their self-esteem and gives them a sense of achievement.
  6. Be flexible
    Take a step-by-step approach, adapting services and activities to reflect the changing needs of individuals and making it easier for people to join in and stay interested. Also offer activities that support several aspects of wellbeing and create a social atmosphere.
  7. Build in evaluation from the start
    To help show the difference you are making and understand your local context, build in monitoring and evaluation from the outset.
  8. Continued marketing
    Ongoing tailored marketing is important to raise awareness of your project and ensure updates reach different audiences.
  9. Skilled staff
    It’s important to have welcoming, supportive, able staff and project leaders who are understanding, enthusiastic and make individuals feel at ease.
  10. Location and environment
    It’s important to offer services and activities in local, safe, easy to access and welcoming places.

You can read about each of these key success factors and how to overcome some of the challenges related to them in our thematic review of health and wellbeing.

Key features of successful projects

We’ve found through our Wellbeing programmes that key features of successful projects include those that are:

  • Fun and sociable
  • Aimed at gradual improvements and building self-confidence
  • Engaging participants on a regular basis
  • Delivered in small groups, enabling people to form friendships and improve all areas of wellbeing
  • Not specifically focus on health
  • Embedding behaviour in an institution (e.g. a school), family life, or everyday routine
  • Teaching skills or knowledge
  • Providing a way for people to see the difference they’ve made
  • Offering training for delivering wellbeing activities to other organisations and service providers.

This page combines our learning from across a variety of programme evaluations. For copies of the individual programme reports, visit the Health and Wellbeing publications page.