Young People

#BeeWell, UK’s biggest survey of young people’s experiences, returns for second year

  • Youth-led survey of young people’s experiences and wellbeing has launched, following festival of wellbeing activities on Thursday 22 September
  • Co-designed and launched by young people, the #BeeWell survey aims to capture their needs and aspirations for the future
  • Last year’s inaugural survey received almost 40,000 responses from 160 schools across Greater Manchester
  • The survey, already the biggest of its kind in the country, will now go out to almost 200 schools in the city-region, with plans in place to expand beyond Greater Manchester in the future
  • #BeeWell festival at Depot Mayfield will include wellbeing workshops, live performances, and sports activities

YOUNG people across Greater Manchester will have the chance to make their voices heard and shape youth services in the city-region, as the biggest survey of its kind has returned.

#BeeWell, the youth-led survey of young people’s wellbeing and experiences, was co-designed with 150 young people to provide an insight into how pupils in schools across Greater Manchester feel about their physical and mental wellbeing, the services and opportunities available to them, and their relationships with their peers, teachers, and parents or carers.

They project is a £2m collaboration between the University of Manchester, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and 10 local councils, the Anna Freud Centre, and The Gregson Family Foundation.

Almost 40,000 pupils in Years 8 and 10responded to the survey when it was launched in 2021 . Following the survey, schools were provided with support sessions with the Anna Freud Centre to interpret the data and plan their future provision, and non-profit organisation The Politics Project ran discussion sessions with students to discuss the findings and how local authorities can take action in response. #BeeWell was also commended by The Times Education Commission, which recommended that the model be rolled out across the country, and work is now taking place to explore the potential of a national pilot.

Since the publication of the first survey results, action has been taken across Greater Manchester to respond to what young people across the city-region are telling us. This includes a new social prescribing pilot and a youth-led commissioning pot to support LGBTQ+ young people. #BeeWell Partners have been issuing their responses to the data, with over £500k being invested into Greater Manchester’s communities as a result.

To mark the launch of the survey, a festival of wellbeing activities was held at Depot Mayfield on Thursday 22 September, where more than 200 young people from across the city-region enjoyed a range of wellbeing workshops, live performances, and sports activities.

Cllr Mark Hunter, Greater Manchester’s Lead for Young People, said: “The first #BeeWell survey was a real breakthrough in conversations about young people’s health, wellbeing, and activity. Very often those conversations don’t give enough weight to the voices of young people themselves, but by putting them and their experiences front and centre we can ensure that the action we take is properly targeted.

“Since last year’s survey we’ve organised sessions in schools for young people to discuss and understand the data, and worked with partners across the city-region to run events and activities celebrating physical and mental health and wellbeing. Now, with the second survey going out to almost 200 schools, we’ll be able to get an even better insight into what young people want to see from the services and opportunities that are out there.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “#BeeWell is a genuine example of what doing things differently in Greater Manchester actually means in practice. It’s the biggest survey of its kind in the country and this year it will get even bigger, giving more young people the opportunity to share their experiences and their concerns about the things that matter to them.

“There’s no doubt that young people have gone through some tough times in the past couple of years, with the disruption and the difficulties of the pandemic affecting their physical and mental health. There are still challenges ahead as we all contend with the cost-of-living crisis, and we know that the impact will be felt more intensely in those places that already experience the deepest inequalities. That’s why it’s so important that we keep listening carefully to what young people are saying, and act on what they tell us, so we can help them to navigate these challenges and to get on in life.”

Last year’s #BeeWell survey found that four in five young people felt that they belonged in their schools, and a majority of those who responded said they had things to do and places to go in Greater Manchester. It also found that 67 per cent were getting involved in sport outside of school at least once a week, and four in five said they had good, very good, or excellent physical health.

However, it also found that there were gaps in wellbeing scores between boys and girls, with girls reporting lower levels than boys. There were also inequalities identified amongst young people identifying as LGBTQ+, who reported higher levels of stress and emotional difficulties.

The #BeeWell Youth Steering Group shared the following: “#BeeWell gives a voice to young people. The percentages we have seen about mental wellbeing have had an impact about how we think about mental health. It helps us to understand that we all need a balance in life and ideas on how to get that balance. As a youth steering group, we’re giving ideas because we can relate more to the young people who are our age and understand the “why” behind the survey statistics. We’re really excited to launch the second annual survey.”

Professor Neil Humphrey, academic lead for #BeeWell at the University of Manchester, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be launching the second annual #BeeWell survey.  The response to the findings of our first survey was fantastic and we are excited to see what is possible once we have longitudinal data from young people.  Making their wellbeing everybody’s business is at the heart of #BeeWell and we are thrilled that so many schools in our city-region, in addition to GMCA, the 10 localities, and over 100 partner organisations, share that vision.”

Article Published: 27/09/2022 09:55 AM