Article Text

‘Well London’ and the benefits of participation: results of a qualitative study nested in a cluster randomised trial
  1. Jane Derges1,
  2. Angela Clow2,
  3. Rebecca Lynch1,
  4. Sumeet Jain1,
  5. Gemma Phillips3,
  6. Mark Petticrew4,
  7. Adrian Renton3,
  8. Alizon Draper1
  1. 1School of Life Sciences, University of Westminster, London, UK
  2. 2Department of Psychology, University of Westminster, London, UK
  3. 3Institute for Health and Human Development, University of East London, London, UK
  4. 4Department of Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jane Derges; jane.derges{at}


Background Well London is a multicomponent community engagement and coproduction programme designed to improve the health of Londoners living in socioeconomically deprived neighbourhoods. To evaluate outcomes of the Well London interventions, a cluster randomised trial (CRT) was conducted that included a longitudinal qualitative component, which is reported here. The aim is to explore in depth the nature of the benefits to residents and the processes by which these were achieved.

Methods The 1-year longitudinal qualitative study was nested within the CRT. Purposive sampling was used to select three intervention neighbourhoods in London and 61 individuals within these neighbourhoods. The interventions comprised activities focused on: healthy eating, physical exercise and mental health and well-being. Interviews were conducted at the inception and following completion of the Well London interventions to establish both if and how they had participated. Transcripts of the interviews were coded and analysed using Nvivo.

Results Positive benefits relating to the formal outcomes of the CRT were reported, but only among those who participated in project activities. The extent of benefits experienced was influenced by factors relating to the physical and social characteristics of each neighbourhood. The highest levels of change occurred in the presence of: (1) social cohesion, not only pre-existing but also as facilitated by Well London activities; (2) personal and collective agency; (3) involvement and support of external organisations. Where the physical and social environment remained unchanged, there was less participation and fewer benefits.

Conclusions These findings show interaction between participation, well-being and agency, social interactions and cohesion and that this modulated any benefits described. Pathways to change were thus complex and variable, but personal well-being and local social cohesion emerged as important mediators of change.


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