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Surrey County Council Case Study

Case Study

Surrey County Council

Surrey County Council Case Study

The Challenge: 

Through Maya’s role at Surrey County Council as Public Health Lead for mental health, a need was identified for a county wide campaign to foster positive mental health amongst the general public, starting with a focus on people aged 50-70 years. The rationale for targeting this group was that they would be of, or nearing, retirement age and have time to adopt some of the activities. Furthermore, this group may have missed out on well-being as an approach to mental health in earlier life and thus would benefit from the programme. The second year focus will broaden to also include young people.

Maya identified the Wheel of Well-being as a key programme that could build on what was already being done, that included the crucial environmental element and would support Surrey in this drive, by providing a ready made programme and materials.

What Was Needed: 

Maya commissioned the one day programme as an introduction into the Wheel of Well-being for 40 cross sectoral council staff members, including those working across areas that experienced high levels of common mental illness and deprivation. The day was an opportunity to develop the attendees’ knowledge of an holistic approach to happiness focusing on the six universal aspects of well-being: body, mind, spirit, people, place and planet.


“It was probably one of the best things I’d ever done...We all grew together, and for me personally, it made me realise that life is tough but you can cope with it in a different way”
Attendee of the DIY Happiness workshops
What Happened: 

There were very good engagement levels across participants following the training, and the success of the programme sparked a major campaign for positive mental health across Surrey. The campaign was integrated into the council’s communications strategy and the WoW branding was adopted for it. The council’s own mental health promotion service adopted what had been learnt from the one day WoW workshop, and adapted the format to deliver additional sessions. These sessions, which were often oversubscribed, were offered to a wider range of staff and were also open to the public. As a consequence, the campaign gained significant traction within the community.

The WoW section of the website recommends what residents can do that aligns with each of the six WoW principles, for example encouraging residents to cut down on their waste and recycle as a way of caring for the planet. A mapping section was done across council departments to identify existing and potential WoW activities for council staff and the Surrey public.

The Results: 

One attendee of the initial one day workshop, Tracey, who is a Community Development Worker in Merstham, found the one day programme resonated with her as a result of her lived experience and was hugely useful as a way of framing happiness. Consequently, Tracey was motivated to secure funding to attend the eight week programme for herself and two volunteers.

Since completing the programme, Tracey and her colleagues have adapted the full programme and now run their own local well-being course for 12 hand picked volunteers from wider projects. Sessions include taking a topic in the wheel each week and running a series of bite sized activities to support understanding and skills development to enable the volunteers to support their local community to thrive. To date the Surrey WoW page has been visited over 87,000 times.

Through the Wheel of Well-being training, Maya and Tracey have created a ripple effect, expanding the reach of the programme and the Wheel of Well-being, having impact across Surrey’s most deprived communities.