This page provides a topic overview for CANs (community agency networks) and community groups with a focus or interest in the Health and wellbeing of their communities, covering Community action projects, coordination opportunities and resources for community led action.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) defined health in its broader sense in its 1948 constitution as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." This definition has been subject to controversy, in particular as lacking operational value and because of the problem created by use of the word "complete". Other definitions have been proposed, among which a recent definition that correlates health and personal satisfaction.

The term "healthy" is also widely used in the context of many types of non-living organizations and their impacts for the benefit of humans, such as in the sense of healthy communities, healthy cities or healthy environments. In addition to health care interventions and a person's surroundings, a number of other factors are known to influence the health status of individuals, including their background, lifestyle, and economic, social conditions, and spirituality; these are referred to as "determinants of health." Studies have shown that high levels of stress can affect human health. W

Well-being, wellbeing, or wellness is the condition of an individual or group. A high level of well-being means that in some sense the individual's or group's condition is positive. "Wellness refers to diverse and interconnected dimensions of physical, mental, and social well-being that extend beyond the traditional definition of health. It includes choices and activities aimed at achieving physical vitality, mental alacrity, social satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment, and personal fulfillment."[1]

The use of appropriate technologies is less common in healthcare than other fields such as construction or agriculture. In healthcare it is linked closely to public health field and the water and sanitation, where it has been in use for much longer. Appropriate technology is often used to develop mobility and rehabilitation equipment as well as tests used to diagnose diseases. With a sound understanding of principles it is often possible to have lasting impacts on the health and safety of people where the latest medicines and equipment may not be available.

Community action projects[edit | edit source]

Community action for sustainability is concerned with at least three complementary, overlapping and interlocking kinds of wellbeing: Environmental, Social and Economic. Some have suggested a fourth kind, Spiritual well being, is also important, for example the Transition movement includes concern for 'Inner Transition'[2] In a way all CASwiki topics are about community wellbeing.

Here's a listing of some kinds and examples of Community action projects, with a but more about some in the sections below:

  • Help people understand that "the climate crisis is a health crisis"[3]
  • Ecotherapy
  • Green exercise
  • Green Gym
  • Healthy Living Projects
  • Healthy eating projects
  • Health and sustainability Fairs
  • Walking for Health initiatives and Community walking projects

Events[edit | edit source]

Health and climate[edit | edit source]


Green exercise[edit | edit source]

Green exercise refers to physical exercise undertaken in natural environments. Physical exercise is well known to provide physical and psychological health benefits. There is also good evidence that viewing, being in, and interacting with natural environments has positive effects, reducing stress and increasing the ability to cope with stress, reducing mental fatigue and improving concentration and cognitive function. W

Green Gym[edit | edit source]

The Conservation Volunteers' (UK community volunteering charity that works to create healthier and happier communities for everyone through environmental conservation) Green Gym programme aims to provide people with a way to enhance their fitness and health while taking action to improve the outdoor environment. It can be seen as enabling people to get fit who would not normally attend a conventional gym or sports centre. W

Resources[edit | edit source]

Networks[edit | edit source]

Octicons puzzle-piece.svg

Camerados is a growing movement of people from Baltimore to Blackpool who look out for each other in person and online. Anyone can be a camerado, it's a behaviour thing. Being a camerado is about how you live on a daily basis and it's based on six principles that help folk be alongside each other and get through tough times.

The Camerados movement was founded by Maff Potts in 2015. Maff spent 20 years as CEO of a number of charities and housing associations and rewrote the UK government's policy for homeless centres. He now believes that real social change comes from social movements.[4]

What Is A Camerado?
Authors: Camerados, Apr 11, 2017

Quotes[edit | edit source]

Those who have health have hope, and those who have hope have everything.
— Arabian proverb
As a public health doctor, I know that by eliminating the local consequences of fossil fuel emissions, and lifting whole communities out of poverty, the Green New Deal will also be a Public Health New Deal.
— Abdul El-Sayed[5]

Video[edit | edit source]

The Ecology of Health
Authors: Commons Health Network, Jan 23, 2014

10 wellbeing dimensions[edit | edit source]

The ONS defines wellbeing as having 10 broad dimensions which have been shown to matter most to people in the UK as identified through a national debate. The dimensions are:

  • The natural environment,
  • Personal well-being,
  • Our relationships,
  • Health,
  • What we do,
  • Where we live,
  • Personal finance,
  • The economy,
  • Education and skills, and
  • Governance.

Personal wellbeing is a particularly important dimension which we define as how satisfied we are with our lives, our sense that what we do in life is worthwhile, our day to day emotional experiences (happiness and anxiety) and our wider mental wellbeing."[6]

Mental health[edit | edit source]

StrongMinds Mini-documentary
Authors: StrongMinds
Date: 2019-07-08
  • StrongMinds, radically expanding mental health care for people with depression globally. Social enterprise founded in 2013 that treats depression in low-income populations by providing group interpersonal therapy (IPT-G), delivered by lay community health workers. Video: StrongMinds on, Blog: Stories and updates on

The World Health Organization describes mental health as "a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community". Mental Health is not just the absence of mental illness. W

Quality of life[edit | edit source]

Quality of life is the general well-being of individuals and societies, outlining negative and positive features of life. It observes life satisfaction, including everything from physical health, family, education, employment, wealth, safety, security to freedom, religious beliefs, and the environment. QOL has a wide range of contexts, including the fields of international development, healthcare, politics and employment.

Quality of life should not be confused with the concept of standard of living, which is based primarily on income.[7]


See also[edit | edit source]

local information can be found, or shared, via our many location pages

External links


  1. Well-being W
  3. Health Professionals at the Global Climate Strikes,
  4. Press release, Jul 18, 2021,
  5. The Alternative UK
  6. Well-being W
  7. Quality of life W
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Authors Phil Green
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Language English (en)
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Created June 18, 2007 by Lonny Grafman
Modified May 21, 2024 by Phil Green
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