NEF's Well-Being programme

I met Nic Marks this week, who runs the New Economics Foundation's Well-Being programme. NEF is one of the few UK think-tanks to have a dedicated well-being programme, which it's had for around seven years.

Their main area of focus in creating ways of measuring well-being, which government bodies such as local authorities can use. Nic is a big fan of Ed Diener, the positive psychology academic who's done alot of work in this area. They're working at the moment, for example, with Eurostat, the EU statistics body, on developing a well-being measurement for the entire EU. They also won a big grant from the Lottery's £165 million well-being fund, to work on well-being measurements.

The Lottery well-being fund was announced in April 2006, and they had to give all their money, all £165 million of it, away by July 2006, which seems a bit of a rush.

NEF also won a big contract to advise the Foresight Mental Health and Well-Being project on its findings. Foresight is a government body, a quango I guess, that does scientific reports on aspects of health for the government. It did a big report on obesity last year, for example, which got alot of press, and it's bringing out another big report this summer, chaired by Bill Rammell MP, on Well-Being.

NEF is synthesizing the report's findings, drawn from some 60 experts or so, into five recommendations on what people can do to achieve more well-being. Apparently the key finding is...have better relationships with others. You heard it here first.