Improving well-being through relationships

One Big Happy is a 'grassroots' community systems approach to well-being. We work with people in the community, third-sector organisations, and statutory systems (Early Intervention) to understand where the 'gaps' are in well-being.

We offer bespoke interventions (one-to-one and group) underpinned by the latest research on well-being. Our work focuses on the following:

1. Complementing Schools, NHS provision, and Early Help
2. Improving Parenting Capacity
3. Developing Social Capacity within the community to enhance well-being
4. Offering education on well-being across the lifespan

The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, published by NHS England in 2016, highlights the unprecedented challenges faced by mental health systems across the country: rising demand, growing expectations of the system, and budget constraints.

The South Devon and Torbay CCG - part of the Wider Devon STP footprint - has a complex profile of need. It includes pockets of significant economic disadvantage - particularly in the Torbay area - associated with poor outcomes across a range of domains, including lower than average life expectancies and higher than average rates of hospital admissions for alcohol, drug and mental health conditions.

In light of these challenges, the South Devon and Torbay CCG partnered with the Dartington Service Design Lab to apply system dynamics modelling techniques and undertake a comprehensive survey of children’s mental health and wellbeing. This work
was undertaken to help inform strategic decisions about the design and delivery of mental health services in the region, and in particular to help inform investments in prevention and early intervention.

Based on both the system modelling work and the survey Dartington developed the following recommendations for the CCG and partners:

1. Invest in: (a) targeted evidence-based parenting support programmes in the early years; and (b) family-oriented therapeutic programmes for those already experiencing

If implemented at high quality and at scale, these approaches have the potential to help prevent emerging difficulties escalating into more entrenched difficulties that put pressure on families, communities and the mental health system.

2. Further explore the consequences of brokerage support. Preliminary modelling work suggests that the introduction of some form of brokerage support to help navigate what is a complex mental health system, either for practitioners in schools, primary or secondary care, or directly for those requiring support, may help reduce reassessment and ensure people receive timely and appropriate service. From the wider literature, there are calls for the deployment of brokerage support or ‘navigators’ in health and mental health systems, although the empirical support is limited.

3. Further explore the consequences of the enhanced provision in the community

Charlotte Hill and Jennie Newlove founded One Big Happy to meet the need at the early intervention level to support family well-being as per the recommendations of the research by Dartington.

Charlotte Hill

Founder and CEO

Background: Health and Social Care Management, Education, Recovery Manager, Research (Redesigning NHS Mental Health Systems in Torbay and South Devon for Children and Adults), Parenting Programme Group Leader, Child Protection, NHS Psychoeducation, Systemic Family Therapy, Narrative, and Solution Focused training. Lived experience - lone parenting.

Charlotte Wilson

Leadership Team - NHS Partnership

Background: Psychology, Education, Child Development, Children's Centre Manager, CAMHS Lead NHS for Mental Health in Schools, Parenting Skills Group Leader, Solution Focused Training, Forest School Educator. Lived experience - special guardianship for two children.

Mariella Gimenz

Leadership Team - Senior Family Practitioner

Background: Social Work, Education, Alternative Provision (Montessori), Outdoor Education Leader, Child Protection, Solution Focused Techniques, Linguistics, Refugee Work, Improving Parenting Skills practitioner

Professor Rudi Dallos

Family Therapist/Parent Advisor

Background: Emeritus Professor in Clinical Psychology, Family Therapist (children, adolescents, eating disorders and autism). Research and practice (attachment, narrative and systemic therapies). Lived experience - refugee, lone parent.

Jennie Newlove

Co-Founder, Peer Support Development

Background: Nursing and Allied Treatments (Hypnotherapy, Reiki, Massage), Reproductive Health, Solution Focused Training, Parenting Group Leader, Peer Support, and Community Events. Lived experience - lone parent.

Professor Michael Hyland

Research and Mental Health Programme Development

Background: Honorary Professor of Health Psychology. Mind-body problems, including Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Anxiety, and Depression.

Dr Tim Hobbs

Research Advisor - Community Engagement and Child Outcomes

Background: Work with Public systems, charities, and foundations designed to improve child outcomes. Torbay and South NHS Mental Health System Redesign and Childcount Survey across all schools in the locality. Tim is CEO of Dartington Service Design Lab, a Visiting Professor at UCL (School of Psychology and Language Sciences) and a 2021 Fellow of Practice at the Government Outcomes Lab (Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University).

Some people like a group, some don't, and others are on the fence. If you're new to an area, had a baby, are recently separated, or feel lonely or down, it might be good to join a group. Some research even suggests that joining a group will half your chance of dying in the same year!

There's a science to groups; it's not just about putting people in a room and hoping they'll get along because they might share a common interest. Groups, designed effectively, can be powerful and play an essential part in your health and well-being.

Research tells us that people cope better with life's struggles when they feel they belong to a group. This is for several reasons: an opportunity to meet people and learn about them and what they do, means that in times of need, a person has someone to turn to who can provide resources. Giving a chance to contribute one's knowledge, skills, experience, and strengths to a group also helps with forming a positive identity about oneself and the value this holds for group members.

We're passionate about designing interventions with this in mind. One Big Happy is a grassroots movement, listening to what people tell us they need and thinking about how a one-off or ongoing group can meet a community's needs. People who come to us feel better because, at the heart of our project, we genuinely desire to know one another and create places where people feel they belong to something special.

'For not only young children but human beings of all ages are found to be at their happiest and able to deploy their talents to best advantage when they are confident that, standing behind them, there are one or more trusted persons who will come to their aid should difficulties arise.........' John Bowlby, Attachment Theory. 

GroUPS  MATTER image
  •  01/03/2020 10:00 PM
  •   Meadow House Totnes

THE BIG DAY OFF - A well deserved retreat day for parents and carers! About this Event Description THE BIG DAY OFF is a coming together of parents/carers for other parents/carers, recognising everyone needs a bit of quality time off. A day of massage, relaxation, creative activities, sharing with other parents, lunch at cake, pastries, and more, all included in the price of £25 (or pay what you can afford). Contact us if you need help with transport, babysitting, or you want to bring your little one and/or someone to provide a bit of support. Meadow House is approx. 3 min walk from the top of Totnes High Sreet. More information about the parking, directions, etc will be sent out before the day. Contact Please buy your ticket here

  •  02/02/2020 10:30 AM
  •   Meadow House, Plymouth Road, Totnes

Come along and learn more about Parenting Skills that can help you to build relationships not only with your children but others aswell! There will be a strong focus on: The importance of working to build and maintain important relationships Practical skills to encourage positive behaviour Role play practise on how to deal with tricky situations Friendly environment with other parents/carers keen to get to get more tools in the tool box! Refreshments available. This is an event for age16+. Babes in arms welcome. Ticket price is per family. Meadow House is 3 min walk from Totnes town. Parking and directions will be sent out closer to the date. Contact Please purchase tickets through Eventbrite