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About us

The Living Well UK programme (2018-22) created new systems of community mental health support across the UK, inspired by a model developed in Lambeth, South London. The programme was awarded £3.4 million from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, to support new local partnerships in Edinburgh, Luton, Salford, and Tameside & Glossop that worked to develop their own version of a Living Well system.

The programme aimed to:
  • Significantly improve mental health outcomes for people who need help by refocusing the system around the person

  • Widen access to preventative and person-centred care and support by co-designing new multidisciplinary teams

  • Develop system leadership and collaboration between different stakeholders necessary to drive radical change by facilitating spaces for leaders to build shared purpose around local visions for change

  • Give people confidence to imagine, test and take risks to explore and fulfil new possibilities - for example by adopting and adapting proven new solutions from elsewhere (“other people have done this, so we can too”).

  • Create a national movement for new models of community-based mental health services that influences national policy and service provision by showcasing the work and sharing learning.

Since the programme started in 2018, the movement has grown, and Innovation Unit is now supporting Joined Up Care Derbyshire, Greater Manchester Integrated Care Partnership and York’s Connecting our City Partnership to adapt and adopt Living Well systems. This is helping them achieve NHS England’s policy ambitions to transform community mental health services, in line with the 2019 Community Mental Health Framework for Adults and Older Adults.

Support for our places has centred on:


Movement building

Enabling citizens and professionals to forge a powerful shared vision for change and work side by side and non-hierarchically

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Co-design and

Ensuring that system change is built out of the voice of lived experience


Story gathering
and storytelling

Reconnecting practitioners and leaders emotionally to why they work in mental health in the first place


(rather than ‘piloting’)

Enabling fast-paced testing, learning and service development, and to avoid ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ thinking in complex systems where there is often no easy answer

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Starting by working in one neighbourhood and growing to whole cities, localities and Integrated Care Systems.

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Practice leadership

Blending the best of clinical and social models and to recognise that real transformation happens in the work between professionals and between them and people using services.

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Collaborative leadership

Across organisations and sectors – creating leadership communities based on dialogue and relationships.

The programme has been independently evaluated by Cordis Bright, who found clear evidence that Living Well has supported people to make progress towards improved mental health and quality of life.

Innovation Unit will publish a systems change learning report in January 2023, based on our experience of working across multiple health and care systems in the UK.

Learn more about Living Well


Who is implementing Living Well?

Meet our sites and our supporting organisations


Why do we need Living Well?

Learn about our research and ways of making a mental health system function well


What is the impact of Living Well?

Learn about how Living Well has changed the system already

Who is involved?

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Innovation Unit is managing the Living Well UK Programme which is funded by the National Lottery Community


The National Lottery Community Fund will monitor progress for the programme against agreed outcomes


Leaders and practitioners from these organisations in Lambeth will be a key part of the programme


Meet our Living Well sites

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