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Living Well in Glasgow City


One of the benefits of living in a vibrant city like Glasgow is having a wide variety of sporting and cultural activities on your doorstep. But for many Glasgow citizens, there are multiple barriers to taking part, from the daunting prospect of joining a new and unknown activity to financial and practical barriers to knowing what’s on where, and being able to get there.

A successful pilot programme to remove some of these barriers to health equality and wellbeing in the east of the city is being expanded with the longer-term aim of testing whether the approach can be rolled out citywide. The free Live Well Community Referral programme gives additional support to people living in Calton who may need some help in accessing Glasgow Life’s activities and services. 

Early feedback from participants in Calton is very positive, highlighting how shaping existing services to remove barriers can result in more take up among people who would not usually have participated, ultimately improving their physical and mental wellbeing. So, plans are now underway to expand the service further into the north east of the city. 

One participant who took part in Live Well’s Singing for Fun sessions summed up what it meant for them, “It allows us to express that our voices matter. I love singing. I know how good it is for my health and my wellbeing. I've struggled to find my voice before now." 

So far, around 150 people have been referred to the programme, since the pilot began in June 2022, either by health or community workers or through self-referral. Participants are linked with an adviser who can help them find local activities and programmes they may be interested in, and even go along with them if they feel the first visit could be a bit daunting.

The team of friendly wellbeing advisers are based locally and offer a range of support from simply letting people know about local activities they might enjoy or, if a little more support is needed, by:

•    Listening to what matters most to the person and working with them to find activities they will enjoy
•    Introducing them to activity and club leaders and helping to book a space and get more information if needed
•    Accompanying participants to activities until they feel more confident
•    Helping participants find the right people to speak to if they have any other issues affecting their wellbeing
•    Having a cup of tea and a good chat!

A full range of free local activities are on offer including art and creative activities, social groups, museum activities, walking groups, exercise classes and sports, family activities, computer basics, learning and skills classes and volunteering.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, Assistant Chief Officer for Older People’s Services at Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership (GCHSCP) commented, “Live Well is a great example of the Maximising Independence approach in practice. It’s offering practical local support, in response to community demand, to enable people to improve their wellbeing. Our research shows that loneliness and isolation affect people’s wellbeing across all age groups, and Live Well is helping to connect people in their own communities. Community responses to local health and wellbeing issues are a vital way of addressing needs early on and minimising the need for more intensive statutory services further down the line.”

Irene Cree, Community Referral Project Manager at Glasgow Life believes the success of the scheme is down to the partnership approach, drawing experience and enthusiasm from a number of organisations, together with a strong emphasis on listening to what people in the local community actually want: “We’re working in partnership with other organisations and communities to take a collaborative approach to finding the best solution for the people we serve. 

“We’re not precious about the services on offer – if people are telling us that they want something different, we’ll look at how we can provide that locally, or accompany them on their journey to find it. 

“For example, as well as the existing range of wellbeing activities provided by Glasgow Life and community organisations in the pilot area, we have co-produced three new tailored programmes. The Singing for Fun, Healthy Body Healthy Mind and Coffee and Culture initiatives were created in response to a local need for more accessible sessions. There’s no wrong door, if we can’t help, we’ll point and support. We can also connect people with other services if they have other issues or concerns affecting their wellbeing.”

Following the expansion into the north east of the city, a full evaluation will take place in the autumn of 2023 to inform the potential rollout of a phased citywide approach.

If you’d like to find out more information on programme, or to have a chat with one of the Live Well team, email or Phone free on 0808 175 1956. 

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