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Thematic review of health and wellbeing

The Big Lottery Fund has funded many different health and wellbeing programmes across the UK. We have drawn together the learning from the evaluations of these programmes to produce this review that looks at what makes a project work and where to find out more information.

This review reflects practical learning from a large range of projects and activities. It is for anyone making a grant application for a health and well-being project or currently planning or developing a project, and for ourselves so that we can become better funders.

Thematic review of health and wellbeing download (PDF 125KB) 

5-a-day programme

The 5-a-day local community initiative aims to encourage people in 66 programme areas to eat at least five portions of fruit or vegetables a day. The Big Lottery Fund made available £150,000 over two years to 66 primary care trusts (PCTs). These PCTs work across local communities and use the evidence base to address local barriers and contribute to:

  • Increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables
  • Increasing awareness or knowledge
  • Changing attitudes and beliefs
  • Increasing access to fruit and vegetables.

Activities include home delivery services, improving transport to local markets, voucher schemes, media campaigns, growing and cookery skills, and promoting networking among existing healthy food groups.

Through the evaluation of this programme, we sought to measure the change in fruit and vegetable consumption and the change in the access, awareness and knowledge relating to the benefits of increased fruit and vegetable consumption. A series of reports and case studies were produced which outlined the methods and findings from this evaluation:

School Fruit and Vegetables report (PDF, 1.9MB)  - One aspect of the ‘5-a-day’ programme is the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme (SFVS), which provides a free piece of fruit or a vegetable to children aged four to six years, each school day. The scheme was originally piloted in more than 500 schools throughout England in 2000 and 2001, to examine the practicalities of the scheme before rolling it out nationally. It was expanded region by region with funding from the Big Lottery Fund. Since April 2004, the Department of Health has been funding the SFVS which is now operating throughout England, and will distribute around 440 million pieces of fruit and vegetables each year to over two million children in 18,000 schools.

This report presents findings from the third and final phase of the SFVS evaluation, it also focuses on an exploration of what, if any, change over time has occurred.

Wellbeing and Wellbeing 2

The Big Lottery Fund’s £160 million Wellbeing Programme supported projects across England, focusing primarily on three themes or strands of well-being: healthy eating; physical activity; and mental health. The Wellbeing Programme had three key aims:

  1. To develop new or better early intervention approaches to common mental health problems
  2. To educate and promote healthy eating within communities
  3. To increase participation in physical activity, including active travel.

The programme was delivered through 17 portfolios, which are groups of projects coordinated by a single organisation or network.

After the success of the first Wellbeing programme, we invested an additional £40 million through the Wellbeing 2 programme in 14 portfolios with activity again spread throughout England.

For both programmes, the evaluations aimed to measure the wellbeing impacts in a standard, consistent manner across the projects and overall programme portfolio. The evaluations also focus on the learning gained throughout the portfolios.

Evaluation of the Wellbeing programme

Evaluation of the Wellbeing 2 programme

Community Sport Initiative

The Community Sport Initiative linked with the UK Government’s 2002-2008 Game Plan strategy and aimed to increase participation among groups with low levels of participation in physical activity. The overall aim of the strategy was: “To increase significantly levels of sport and physical activity, particularly among disadvantaged groups, and to achieve continued levels of success in international competition.” The Community Sport Initiative funded projects that focused on attracting hard to reach groups and increasing physical activity levels.

Below is the series of reports and case studies which outline the methods and findings from this evaluation.

New Opportunities for PE and Sport

Between 2002 and 2009 we invested over £750 million in improving the provision physical education and sport in schools. The programme was primarily capital in nature and provided funding for new and refurbished PE, sport and outdoor adventure facilities.

Below is the series of reports and case studies which outline the methods and findings from this evaluation.