An Asset-based Approach to Health and Wellbeing

People of different ages, genders and ethnicities

Health and Wellbeing in North East Essex: The Lived Experience of Service Users across the Life Course.

 The study aims to provide insight into the experience of ‘vulnerable populations’ and the support they obtain from community assets in North East Essex.
Disadvantaged social groups and communities have a range of complex and inter-related needs; however, they also have assets at the social and community level that can help improve health and wellbeing and strengthen resilience across the life course. This study uses ethnographic methods to explore people’s lived experience and to illuminate the benefit that they receive from local community support activities and places.

Preliminary Findings: Forty one people participated from across six community assets. All participants reported wellbeing benefits from engaging with a community asset. The most important aspect was that of ‘sociality’. This included friendships forged, practical support from organisers and other members, the sharing of information, and the opportunities to participate in activities. For many, the asset acted as a ‘lifeline’ especially those facing health and/or financial challenges. Most were not only recipients, but also made positive contributions as volunteers. This enhanced feelings of confidence and worthwhileness.

COVID -19 Update: The study has been extended to include follow up telephone interviews with participants about their experiences of life under lockdown.  This study Report will be Published June 2020.

For more information on this project please contact the project lead oonagh.corrigan@anglia.ac.uk.

Funding and collaborators

This project is funded by Colchester Borough Council, in collaboration with the North East Essex Health Alliance.