Wellbeing can be understood as how people feel and how they function, both on a personal and a social level, and how they evaluate their lives as a whole. To break this down, how people feel refers to emotions such as happiness or anxiety. How people function refers to things such as their sense of competence or their sense of being connected to those around them. How people evaluate their life as a whole is captured in their satisfaction with their lives, or how they rate their lives in comparison with the best possible life. Our understanding of wellbeing has been influenced by the Young Foundation and the New Economics Foundation.
While wellbeing describes a point in time, we use resilience to understand the end state of a successful negotiation of adversity. It is the ability to bounce back in a positive and creative way to the setbacks and challenges that we face in our lives. For that reason, resilience becomes even more important in the lives of those who face disadvantages. Our understanding of resilience has been influenced by Boing Boing, a resilience research and practice group based in Brighton. They describe resilience as ‘beating the odds whilst also changing the odds’ and have developed a framework that has become central to our work.
We’re also interested in the way that people progress towards their goals, particularly at key transitions in their lives. This includes the transitions from primary to secondary school; from school to post-16 education, employment or training; from working life to retirement; and the life-changes that occur with long term medical conditions.
Future Roots has been measuring the progression of young people to post-16 education, employment or training by monitoring their attitudes to learning and the choices they make when they exit our projects.
Attitudes to learning (teacher survey):
- 100% were reported as having increased motivation
- 89% were reported as having developed their communication skills
- 66% were reported as having improved behaviour
- 44% were reported as having increased attendance
Progress to post-16 education, employment or training:
In 2014 Future Roots embarked on an independent evaluation of our work with young people and older people. The evaluation takes the form of PhD studentship jointly hosted with Bournemouth University’s Psychology Research Group and the Bournemouth University Dementia Institute. This will seek to understand the impact we have on people’s wellbeing and resilience more fully.