Communities target wellbeing as local goal

‘ChangeX’ is a nationwide initiative to help improve quality of life

Dr Brendan Dunford and Elaine Williams, ChangeX Burren, Niamh McKenna, Change X and Paul O’Hara, chief executive of ChangeX at the launch of the initiative. Photograph:  Eamon Ward

Dr Brendan Dunford and Elaine Williams, ChangeX Burren, Niamh McKenna, Change X and Paul O’Hara, chief executive of ChangeX at the launch of the initiative. Photograph: Eamon Ward

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A new project to help communities across the country to measure and improve their wellbeing has got under way.

The ChangeX project allows towns or villages to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and develop ways of improving the quality of life for the wider community.

A wellbeing index has been developed by NUI Galway and the ChangeX group which organisers hope will allow communities track how well – or poorly – they are performing in fields such as activities for young and old, the environment and a sense of belonging.


Social innovations
The idea is that if weaknesses – such as a lack of amenities for children – are identified, then individuals and communities will be helped to launch and grow proven social innovations, such as computer coding classes for young people.

Paul O’Hara, chief executive of ChangeX, said strengthening wellbeing should be a core measurement of progress for countries and communities rather than economic indicators such as gross domestic product.

“Imagine if every community had a wellbeing score they could track over time, allied with the power to launch relevant innovations and the data and tools to affect Government policy where most needed. Our ambition is to equip communities right across the world with the knowledge, networks and tools they need,” he said. He encouraged people to visit the website, changex.org.

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