Posted: 02 September 2016

Children’s experiences of their local area are vital to their well-being

Our latest Good Childhood report has found that how children see their local area is clearly linked to their well-being. Our research adds to evidence that shows children’s direct experiences are much more important for their well-being than factors more removed from them.

Gender gap in happiness

Current trends and insights into how good life is for children are explored in the report, using research of young people’s own perspectives. The results from our research are deeply worrying. One in seven girls – more than a quarter of a million - are unhappy with their lives overall and a third of girls are unhappy with their appearance.

Children’s experiences of where they live

Our Good Childhood report considers whether children’s feelings about their lives vary in different parts of the country. We found that young people’s perceptions of their local area – including on the quality of local facilities, how safe they feel, how much freedom they perceive they have and their experiences of local problems – are linked to their well-being. Noisy neighbours and people drinking or taking drugs are the local problems with the strongest links to well-being.

What needs to be done

We are calling on local authorities across the UK to develop a process to make sure that children have a voice in decision making about their local areas. This might include:

  • Developing a process, to allow children and young people to debate the issues affecting their lives and to assist in decision-making over setting priorities for the year ahead.
  • Bringing people together at a neighbourhood level to improve children’s access to, and their perception of safety in, their local environment, including local parks and open spaces. 
  • Producing an annual children and young people’s local profile, bringing together the range of data that is available on children’s lives in the area.

We’re also asking the Government to:

  • Reaffirm its commitment to understanding and acting on children’s well-being- including through a commitment to measuring children’s well-being in the future.
  • Introduce a legal requirement for schools and further education colleges across England to provide mental health and well-being support


Spread the word

Please share the Good Childhood Report 2016 with your friends and family, and spread the word about this year’s Good Childhood Report and its findings.

By Larissa Pople - Research team