Evidence Base

Friends having fun in a park

People do activities because they enjoy what they are doing. But they are also supporting their wellbeing. On this page you can find some information about how this works, and links to research and tools which provide proof that regular activities support your wellbeing.

Five ways to wellbeing

The Five Ways to Wellbeing were identified by the New Economics Foundation. They are based on evidence from the UK government’s Foresight Project on Mental Capital and Wellbeing.

These five actions are:

  • Connect...
    Take time to connect with family, friends, and the people around you at school or in your local community.
  • Be Active...
    Do a physical activity that you enjoy and that suits you - and remember that all activities become more enjoyable as you practice more.
  • Take Notice...
    Be curious, be aware, and take notice of the world around you. Reflect on what you see. Appreciate the moment.
  • Keep Learning...
    Try something new or improve a skill. Set yourself challenges. Step out of your comfort zone. Enjoy how you build confidence, skills and capability.
  • Give...
    Do something good for your friends, family, community or a stranger. Volunteer, help out, lend a hand. Enjoy making the world a better place.

Wellbeing benefits of different Activities

Different activities provide different benefits. Knowing about the positive benefits of your activity can help you argue for support and funding, and identify all the benefits to the young people doing the activity.

There has been a lot of research into benefits of activities. The CASE database gathers together all sorts of research into the impact of doing different activities:

We also have a shorter database of Wellbeing Benefits of Activities put together locally. If you are struggling to find a particular activity, please contact activitiesoxfordshire@oxfordshire.gov.uk and we will help you find suitable evidence.

Wellbeing benefits of sport

Sport is one of the areas where a great deal of research has been done into the benefits. There are useful tools available from Sports England and others to help you measure the benefit of doing sport.

This is an active page and we are happy to include links to other groups and tools online - please contact activitiesoxfordshire@oxfordshire.gov.uk to suggest more content to include.

Wellbeing benefits of gardening and volunteering

It can help bring stability, improve self-esteem, reduce social isolation and help people learn new skills. For many, it can be a gateway to paid employment, which in turn has its own benefits. In fact, there's plenty of evidence a whole range of social and practical activities can improve the wellbeing of people.

  • If you are thinking of setting up your own project you might want to consider volunteering at a local charity to give you some experience. You'll also need to know all about the wellbeing benefits of therapeutic activities (this is called the evidence base) as this will help your funding bid and finally you'll want to know what funding is available locally and nationally.
  • For more information about the wellbeing benefits of gardens & health evidence base: The Kings Fund report published in May 2016
  • Volunteer at Oxfordshire based mental health charity RESTORE based in Oxford.
  • Get help with your funding bid by contacting OCVA Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action group based in Oxford.


Record managed by Activities Oxfordshire

Page last reviewed: 02/08/2022

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