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The Fife Regeneration, Health and Wellbeing Study

Finding out more about the health and wellbeing of the people of Fife

January ‘06: What can we do to make Fife a happier place?

This is a pictorial representation of what people told us. You can right click and save the image to your desktop as an A4 poster here.

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Happier poster

We report on what people told us in the following 3 sections:


In their conversations local people identified a number of factors that would contribute to the happiness of people in Fife.

There was recognition in our conversations that families matter to people. Also, social isolation is a concern. Participants said that:

"Everyone needs a family."

"Communities should be built where people feel they want to raise a family."

"Everyone should have someone who loves them."

"Parents should play with their children more."

"Staying at home with your children and bringing them up should be appreciated and encouraged, it’s an investment in families too."

"No older person should go through a day where they don’t meet someone; everybody should have one visitor a day."

The behaviour of people in public places and in the delivery of services affects people’s happiness. People said that:

"There should be clear rules about what is acceptable, and what is not, when it comes to public behaviour."

"Community wardens should be more effective, get them on the streets where problems are happening."

"People who deliver services, including in shops and Council and NHS services, should always be polite and civil."

Some of these were about leisure and recreation provision for children and young people and families, which included the need for:

  • More youth and children’s clubs.

  • More things for the 14 – 18 year olds to get involved in which keeps them out of the pubs.

  • Free activities for families to do together; if activities have a cost this will always restrict access by some families where every penny counts.

Participants also identified low income, money management and having a job as areas which need to be addressed. Problems with local transport were also linked with these issues. They said:

"Money helps, while it doesn’t solve problems you feel as though you are treated differently by people when you don’t have it."

"People need local jobs, often they need to be very local because public transport is so bad."

"Rail links should be improved across Fife."

There was a call across meetings for the need to build relationships with neighbours and a stronger sense of community identity, people need to feel safer in their community. People said:

"We would be happier if we could rely on our neighbours more."

"We need to involve young people in making the community a better place; then they will own any changes that are made through regeneration."

"Local areas need to have their ‘high streets’ improved; people need to have a local centre where shops are good and where you feel safe."

"Parents worry about their children’s safety and fear the presence of paedophiles in the community."

"Bullying is a problem in the community."

"People recognised that many adults fear children and young people because their behaviour is seen as threatening."

"If changes are being made in a community then local people need to be involved in deciding what the changes are and how best to make them. If they don’t support it, it won’t work. "

"There should be more chances to celebrate things and to build community spirit."

"People need to hear fewer negative messages about their communities. You begin to feel like you are living in a negative place. More time should be spent talking about improving things and the positive aspects of communities."

"It would be good if the communities targeted by regeneration got involved with each other too, help people to get out of their own communities."

"Police need to be visible, and on foot, in the community."

Alcohol and drugs are identified as factors in undermining the happiness of individuals, families and communities. People said that:

"Alcohol products like Buckfast should be taken of the shelves at local shops."

"Drugs and alcohol education should be improved at school."

"Where people with problematic drug and alcohol use are affecting the lives of other families and of whole communities they need to be removed. This is especially the case of people selling drugs."

"Drug dealing in the community is getting worse."

"There aren’t enough drug rehabilitation services available in the community."

The sexual health and wellbeing of young people needs to be improved. People said that:

"Their communities needed to have fewer young people with unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections."

"Sex and relationship education at school needs to be better."

Access to childcare was identified as important when it comes to health and wellbeing. People said:

"Affordable local childcare was necessary for people to access training, learning and job opportunities."

Personal, individualised and prompt support was identified as something people can require. Agencies should be better at speaking to each other. People said:

"People need support when they need it."

"Everyone should have someone to talk to – this should be confidential."

"Services should respond more quickly when people are in crisis."

"Services shouldn’t make people feel like they are just a number."

"When a person gets involved with a service it should make a difference, service providers should do what they say they are going to do."

"Local staff should be better at helping people know about other services that are available, and good at supporting people access them."

Community based agencies can make a difference to people’s happiness. People said that:

"Churches should do more to support isolated people."

"The local press and media should do more to be positive about Fife and about local communities."

"Opportunities for local volunteering should be made available."

Public places like parks can be a positive influence on people’s happiness. People said that:

"Parks need to be cleaner."

"They miss having animals in the parks, children especially like to see and have contact with animals."

Participants recognised that what you eat affects your happiness, and of course your physical health. They said that:

"Healthier school meals are important."

"Efforts should be made to help everyone to think about what they eat, with help to develop healthier habits."

In their conversations local people also identified a number of things that they can do personally to contribute to their own happiness and the happiness of others. Many of these things relate to tackling some of the blocks to happiness and wellbeing identified earlier. They talked about:

Doing things like:

  • Volunteering.

  • Getting involved in things in the community.

  • Getting up in the morning and making a partners breakfast.

  • Singing and dancing.

  • Feeding the birds.

  • Taking up tai-chi.

  • Get to the gym or go for a run.

  • Giving up smoking.

  • Getting some sun on my face.

Having an attitude towards others that included:

  • Speaking to people you don’t know.

  • Asking how other people are, and listening to what they tell you.

  • Smiling at people so that they smile back.

  • Asking for help.

  • Accepting help when needed.

  • Listening to other people’s worries, supporting them when they are down.

  • Keeping an eye out for neighbours – even chapping on their doors and asking if they need anything.

  • Making more friends – and making that initial step to getting to know someone.

  • Passing the time of day with someone.

  • Getting on with neighbours.

Having a personal attitude or view of life which included:

  • Get out of that rut.

  • Being better at communication within the family.

  • Not talking about people behind their backs.

  • Getting more mellow.

  • Taking time in the morning to think positively.

  • Not using alcohol or drugs just to feel ‘normal’.

  • Being better organised.

  • Being better at remembering things that need done.

  • Increasing self confidence.

  • Having a plan.

  • Getting qualifications.

And there were a few other suggestions such as:

  • Winning the lottery.

  • And sprinkling people with fairy dust….

What implications are there for regeneration activity, either in terms of policy or practice of service providers from our conversations about happiness? The information from the responses to this question leads to these questions for the agencies managing regeneration activity.

Does regeneration activity:

  • Support and enhance family life?

  • Address the social isolation people can experience?

  • Respond to anti-social behaviour and to promote pro-social behaviour in the community?

  • Increase free leisure and recreation provision for children, young people and families?

  • Provide for income maximization, debt management and access to low interest credit?

  • Create local employment?

  • Improve public transport – both bus and rail?

  • Engage young people in community development and regeneration activity?

  • Improve the public spaces in targeted communities, including shops, to help make them look better and feel safer?

  • Help ensure children’s safety when they are out playing or going to school?

  • Impact on policing and the presence of the police in targeted communities?

  • Involve local people in making decisions about the regeneration agenda?

  • Support positive community celebrations?

  • Provide opportunities for the local communities targeted by regeneration to get together?

  • Enhance drug and alcohol education for the whole community, including retailers of alcohol?

  • Tackle the negative impact that problematic drug and alcohol use is having in communities, including responses to people selling drugs and access to drug rehabilitation services?

  • Work to ensure fewer unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections amongst young people?

  • Improve access to affordable childcare?

  • Ensure services are more able to respond to individuals when they need support or help, and to do that promptly?

  • Improve communication and coordination of services, and improve the experience of the service user?

  • Enhance the role of the churches and the local media in making Fife a better place to live?

  • Address the role local volunteering can have in regeneration?

  • Improve local parks?

  • Support healthier eating?

  • Build the capacity of the individual to do things which enhance their own happiness and that of others?