What Works Wellbeing


What Works Wellbeing has worked on wellbeing and related areas for ten years in the UK and gained a reputation as a leading authority in its field. Based in Manchester, a major city in northwest Britain with a rich industrial heritage, it has a population of over 550,000. What Works Welbeing has made the results of its programs freely accessible as a ‘public good’. Its program BeeWell is a case study of life readiness in young people. One area surveyed is Why Measuring Hope Matters.


How hopeful we feel and our view of risks, challenges and the future has a role in developing long-term resilience and coping with changes. The absence of hope – despair – has been linked to mental health problems and an increase in mortality, as well as vulnerability to misinformation. Hope celebrates strengths and identifies opportunities for improvement.


During 2022, a second survey to measure the hopefulness of young people was delivered to 35,000 young people in years 9 and 10 in over 150 schools in the greater Manchester region. Using the span of years from 2020 to 2022 it wanted to see if, post-Covid, there had been a movement from recovery to an optimistic future. 2022 survey results showed an increase in hope from that seen in the pandemic. Areas such as optimism, confidence in skills and abilities, whether they would have a better life than their parents are shown in the breakdown of geographical areas in their data.


WhatWorksWellbeing BeeWell included questions contributed from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s Life Readiness Survey, focusing on young people’s optimism for the future, skills, careers’ education and post-Year 11 plans. The organisation is also drawing attention to the interest of some economists in understanding how aspiration shapes life outcomes.




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