17 November 2023

Independent study shows Live Well programme is helping Glaswegians to live healthier and happier lives

Two people standing and looking at a leaflet together in a community centre

Glasgow Life's innovative Live Well Community Referral (LWCR) programme is aimed at removing barriers and helping people to access a variety of local activities and services that can improve their physical and mental wellbeing.

This includes arts and creative workshops, museum visits, walking groups, sports and fitness sessions, family activities, learning and skills classes, and volunteering opportunities.

The initiative has been working to tackle health inequality in some of the city's most deprived communities since launching in Calton in June last year. It has since expanded to include Bridgeton, Parkhead, Shettleston and Tollcross due to increased demand.

Participants are linked with a Live Well adviser who works with them to find local activities they're interested in, and even attend with them if they feel their first visit could be a bit daunting. Advisers provide structured support until the person feels comfortable accessing activities and services on their own, for up to 12 weeks. 

Now an independent evaluation of the programme has produced positive results. Carried out by our partners, Social Value Lab, it shows 240 people received support as part of the pilot from June 2022 to September 2023 and found:

  • 100% of participants felt their general happiness had improved.
  • 98%said they felt listened to, and the information they received was relevant and useful.
  • 98% said they were supported to identify individual wellbeing goals and 75% went on to achieve them.
  • 97%agreed that taking part in activities had helped them to feel less lonelyor alone.
  • Crucially,96% of participants agreed theywould not have taken part without LWCR support.
  • 96% were more physically active and 93% were better connected to people in their community.
  • 93% indicated that the support from Live Well Health and Wellbeing Advisers was a key factor in finding out what was available to them.
  • Overall, 95% indicated that, based on their own LWCR experience, they would recommend the programme to others.

Referrals into the Live Well programme have been received from a range of partner agencies, including Community Link workers within GP practices, Glasgow Helps and Police Scotland. Participants can also self-refer, and this has accounted for almost 50% of all referrals received. The main reasons for referral throughout the pilot phase were to increase physical activity; connect with the community; and improve low mood.

Evaluation data from the pilot showed 71% of all LWCR participants were female, 66% were aged 35-74, and 36 participants had a disability. Over half of the people receiving support lived in communities ranked among the most deprived 10% in Scotland.

Our Live Well Community Referral Project Manager, Irene Cree, said:"Our initial evaluation shows the main reasons Live Well can help people improve their health and wellbeing are around personalised support and the accessibility of activities. Participants are finding out about activities they were unaware of, and also telling us that the help they've received is a major factor in their continuing attendance.

"People are supported in different ways according to their need; for example, as well as the existing range of wellbeing activities provided by Glasgow Life and community organisations in the pilot area, we have co-produced three new tailored programmes.

"Our Singing for Fun; Healthy Body, Healthy Mind; and Coffee and Culture initiatives were created in response to a local need for more accessible sessions and they have been really well received. Our Live Well programme reflects Glasgow Life's unique position as a connector, deliverer and co-producer of wellbeing activities."

Glasgow Life's ambition is to expand Live Well Community Referral to become a sustainable and mainstream, citywide initiative, which could support around 2,500 people each year. We are now engaging with local and national partners and stakeholders as we look to secure the external funding required to enable a phased roll out of the programme across Glasgow next year.

  • For more information on the programme, click here.
  • To read more about the evaluation, click here.
  • To watch a short video about some of Glasgow Life’s health and wellbeing activities, click here.