People in Wiltshire are the fourth happiest in the country according to the results of a recent national survey.
With a happiness score of 77.1 percent, Wiltshire was beaten only by Anglesey (77.3), Rutland (80.8) and Eilean Siar, Orkney & Shetland (82.8).
The unhappiest people lived in the local authoprities of Swansea (65.8), County Durham (65.3) and Blackpool (63.5), which had the dubious honour of being named the unhappiest place in Britain.
The first national well-being survey showed that, nationally, those who are married, have jobs and own their own homes are the most likely to be satisfied with their lives.
As a general trend, people were the most satisfied with life in their teenage years and when they reached retirement age, with happiness levels dipping during middle age.
Those aged 16 to 19 and 65 to 79 reported satisfaction levels considerably higher than the UK average of 7.4 out of 10.
People living in built-up or former industrial areas, such as South Wales, the West Midlands or London, tended to be less happy, while rural areas, such as Orkney and Shetland, and Wiltshire were the happiest.
The results were obtained after researchers asked adults aged 16 and over to rank themselves between 0 and 10 to a number of questions, including:
- Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?
- Overall, to what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile?
- Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday?
- Overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?
The scheme aims to provide a better understanding of how society is doing, and could help form future government policy. Prime Minister David Cameron described the survey as crucial to finding out what the government can do to "really improve lives", but Labour ridiculed the survey as a "statement of the bleeding obvious".
Welcoming the findings of the survey, Wiltshire Council leader, Jane Scott, said: “This doesn’t surprise me as the enthusiasm and the happiness I saw from our communities celebrating the Jubilee and the Torch relay was fantastic.
“More than 50 percent of people in the county came out and I think it shows what a strong community spirit we have in Wiltshire.
“We live in a beautiful county which is one of the safest and healthiest places to live, with low unemployment.
“However we must not rest on our laurels and, although the survey suggests older people and teenagers are the happiest groups, we must continue to work hard with our partners to support them.”
Picture courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.netWould you walk over hot coals for charity?
That’s the question being asked by Prospect Hospice, who are inviting the public to take part in their Firewalk event at Alexandria House Hotel, Wroughton on 28 October this year to raise money for the hospice.
The event sees participants being sponsored to walk barefoot over burning embers, at temperatures that can reach almost 800 degrees centigrade. The event also includes a Halloween Party for family and friends with traditional festive activities including apple-bobbing and a pumpkin carving competition.
Last year’s event at the Check Inn, Wroughton, raised nearly £8,000 towards the costs of the Hospice, which looks after 1800 patients and their families in the local area every year.
One of the participants was Marc Blackwell, who decided to take on the challenge after friend Louisa Francis spent her final days in the care of the Hospice. Marc, who raised over £1,000 in sponsorship at the event, said:
“I really enjoyed it, and I’d recommend anyone to give it a go. I was really nervous beforehand when we were queuing and watching the others take part, but actually when it was my turn I just concentrated on what I had to do and the nerves left me. It was a bit like walking over very hot sand – painful, but not unbearable. The important thing was that I was doing it for Prospect.”
This year, the organisers are hoping that more people will take on the ultimate challenge and walk over hot coals for Prospect Hospice. The charity is looking for brave people to put mind over matter for the event and for their friends and family to come along to the spooky Halloween party and to watch them walk over red-hot coals in aid of Prospect Hospice.
Sheryl Crouch, head of fundraising, said: “A lot of our events are physical challenges of one kind or another, but not everyone wants to take on a physically demanding challenge. The great thing about the Firewalk is that it’s extreme, and demanding without being too physically challenging.
“We are hoping that groups from businesses might like to take part. We’re also hoping that people will bring their friends and family to buy a ticket to our Halloween Party to see how brave they are!
Registration for the Firewalk costs just £25, and organisers hope firewalkers can raise a suggested sponsorship amount of £150. To register, visit www.prospect-hospice.net/firewalk
CommunityGiveawayVoting has opened in the preliminary round of the Frasers Budgens of Marlborough Community Giveaway.
The Community Giveaway is being staged by Oxfordshire-based retail group Fraser’s, who are opening a petrol station, Budgens convenience store and Subway outlet at Marlborough Business Park in the autumn.
From now until 1 September, local good causes are invited to nominate themselves for a community grant.
And until 7 September, a public poll will select nine finalists from three categories – Health, Wellbeing and Social; Communities and the Arts; Education and Young People.
The finalists will be invited to pitch their projects to a live voting audience at Theatre on the Hill in Marlborough on Thursday 27 September, when representatives from each community group are invited to pitch their ideas from the theatre stage to a voting public.
While there's a lot of money at stake, the emphasis will be on fun, with organisers insisting the event will be more like Britain's Got Talent than Dragon's Den.
The three community projects that receive the most votes on the night will walk away with cheques for £1,000. And all of the nine finalists will get a share of another £1,000 over the first three months of the new forecourt opening.
Readers wishing to cast a vote, or to apply for a grant on behalf of their community organisation, should go to www.facebook.com/BudgensMarlborough Visitors are able to vote for one organisation in each category so are urged to use their vote wisely.
The applicants vying for the public's vote include:
Community and the Arts
Marlborough Communities Market
To support the ongoing success of the monthly Marlborough Communities Market, a not-for-profit enterprise working in collaboration with Transition Marlborough and Marlborough Town Council and incorporating a farmers' market and local crafts and produce.
Kennet Accordion Orchestra
To develop younger/beginners to the interest of music generally and to fund new instruments for the youth orchestra.
Phoenix Brass Band
To purchase 2 Tenor Horns to enlarge the Horn section of the Training Section, which exists to introduce any person, young or old, to the joys of music and brass banding.
Kennet Valley Arts Trust
Support for the showing of films in the Town Hall for adults coming under the heading of Marlborough Downs Movies.
We Love Marlborough
To bring Christmas cheer to Marlborough families, We Love Marlborough would like Father Christmas to be free to visit in the town hall this year, and have an free top-quality artist-led Christmas crafts-making session culminating in a procession at the lights switch on at 7pm. The Christmas Lights Switch On Activities would take place on 29 November 2012
Health, Wellbeing and Social
National Childbirth Trust
To support the ongoing success of NCT Marlborough and District, which offers local parents and parents-to-be invaluable support, services and NCT events including: ‘bumps and babies’ cafés’, monthly newsletter, nearly new sales, antenatal classes, baby first aid, walking club and local events.
Carer Support Wiltshire
To support the work of the Wiltshire-wide charity that gives free and confidential emotional support, information, advice and breaks to unpaid carers living in the county.
Wiltshire Air Ambulance
To support the running costs of the Wiltshire Air Ambulance, the only emergency helicopter in the UK to fly with a pilot, paramedic and police observer at all times. Each day the Wiltshire Air Ambulance is called out an average of three times. Since 2009 the Wiltshire Air Ambulance has attended 41 emergency incidents in Marlborough and Pewsey alone. It costs almost £2,000 per day to keep the Wiltshire Air Ambulance flying and saving lives.
Splitz - KidzPace
Working with children aged 11-17 who have witnessed or been exposed to domestic abuse in Marlborough and Pewsey. Splitz provides a mix of one to one support and group work to build children's confidence and self-esteem.
SWIFT Medics provides specialised medical care at the roadside and in people's homes to people who are critically ill or injured. The grant will go towards blue light driver training and specialised medical equipment for a new emergency responder.
Education and Young People
Marlborough Brandt Group
To enable six students studying for the international baccalaureate from St John's School in Marlborough to travel on a study visit to The Gambia with a teacher and an education worker from MBG, to enhance their learning about development in an African community.
The new All-Weather Pitch at St John's School
Having completed the new school building without the help of any national government funding, and moved in late 2009, the school is now working hard to raise the money needed to complete the external sports facilities at the new school. The All-Weather Pitch will not only benefit the students, but will also be available for evening, weekend and school holiday use by the wider local community.
Savernake Forest Scout Group
Savernake Forest Scout Group requires new lightweight tents so that the 60 young members of the scout troop can go on camping adventures and develop key life skills through adventurous physical activity.
The Merchant's House Education Programme
The programme gives the children a real insight into what life was like in the 17th century for the middle class as well as servants. A grant would be used to make some 17th century children's outfits that the school children could try them on to experience how different the clothes were to the modern day clothes.
Savernake ExplorerScout Unit
To explore the seven local White Horses in a two day hike. The unit needs camping equipment and a trailer to do this without having to hire. This will enable them to explore other parts of Wiltshire and beyond.
Voting for the nine finalists in our Community Giveaway has now opened. You can only vote once in each category – so use your vote wisely! For more details about the applicants and their projects, go to http://bit.ly/MCIMkZ