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What is Living Well UK?

Living Well UK is a three year programme that is creating new systems of mental health support across the UK, inspired by a model developed in Lambeth, South London.


The Living Well UK programme has been awarded £3.4 million in National Lottery funding to support new local partnerships in Edinburgh, Luton, Salford, and Tameside & Glossop that will each develop their own version of a Living Well system.


The aim is that these new Living Well systems will become leading, internationally recognised examples of an innovative ways to help people achieve good mental health in community and primary care settings. They will have the potential to be scaled across the NHS in the UK, transforming current provision offered by GPs and community and mental health teams.

Why do we need new systems of mental health support?

Over the last 6 months the Living Well UK programme team have visited half a dozen local mental health systems across the UK. We have seen, heard and learned from brilliant people doing seriously difficult work with limited resources inside the current mental health system. Perhaps the most inspiring stories we have heard are those of people recovering from mental illness, emotional distress and trauma, who all want to work for a system that is better.

We have identified a set of false choices and gaps in the current system which drive how services are delivered.

What is a “Living Well system” of support?

The programme is helping to build Living Well systems of support that put people's strengths and lived experience at the centre and are designed to help people recover and stay well as part of their community. 

Living Well systems of support are distinguishable by
set of key features (shown opposite). Living Well systems prioritise working systemically in the following ways:

Explore case studies from inspiring places in the UK and abroad that are implementing approaches that share these features.

Read more about Lambeth Living Well, which was launched in 2010 and has radically transformed mental health services in Lambeth, south London,towards a Living Well system.


Are accountable for people centred outcomes that promote choice, recovery and citizenship


Provide timely access to
support where it is needed 


See people as citizens within communities, rather than ‘patients’ or ‘professionals’


Work collaboratively
and flatten hierarchies


Put the voice of lived experience at the centre of services and
the system


Work holistically, building up
and on people’s strengths


Activate supportive
social networks


Have permission to test
and learn together

Who is involved?

Living Well UK is working with four pioneering places to each create their own version of a Living Well system.





& Glossop

Innovation Unit


Innovation Unit is a social enterprise based in the UK, Australia
and New Zealand. We work internationally, applying disciplined approaches to develop new solutions and create impact at scale. Through our projects and ventures we identify, create and scale evidence-based solutions, mainly focused on: children’s social care, learning & schools, healthy lives, early years and mental health.


Innovation Unit is managing the Living Well UK Programme which is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. Innovation Unit will:

  • Provide innovation coaching to each of the four sites, supporting
    them to design and develop their own Living Well system

  • Support the four sites to learn from each other

  • Share learning from the programme with UK stakeholders (including senior leaders, commissioners and innovators)

  • Ensure the programme is properly evaluated

The National Lottery Community Fund


The National Lottery Community Fund uses money raised by National Lottery players to help communities achieve their ambitions. From small, local projects to UK-wide initiatives, its funding brings people together to make a difference to their health, wellbeing and environment. Since June 2004 it has awarded £9 billion to projects that improve the lives of millions of people.

Its UK Portfolio supports UK-wide projects to test and grow bold ideas that put people in the lead to address long-term social issues and improve the quality of life across the UK and internationally.


The National Lottery Community Fund will monitor progress for the programme against agreed outcomes and help to share learning with other projects that it funds.



The Lambeth Living Well Alliance is a partnership of five organisations: Certitude and fellow voluntary sector provider Thames Reach, the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM), Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Lambeth Council.


Leaders and practitioners from these organisations in Lambeth will be a key part of the programme - sharing their experience, expertise and learning with the four sites, including in areas such as frontline practice, co-production, commissioning and collaborative leadership.

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