Light Box The Happiness Project

THE HAPPINESS PROJECT was an arts-based intervention, delivered by a community interest
company called LIGHT BOX PROJECT to promote good mental health in the wider Bristol

USE evaluation outcomes to develop an ongoing project.
CREATE and employ a robust evaluation framework.
SUPPORT people with mental health problems.
PROVIDE an early intervention facility.
PROMOTE mental health.
PREVENT mental illness.

01/03/10 - 31/03/10, prototype
01/04/11 - 30/06/11, pilot
01/10/12 - 31/05/15, project

Details of the project participants

Participants self-referred or were signposted to the Happiness Project by GPs, Probation services, HMP Ley Hill, Early Intervention in Psychosis teams and VCOs.

A leaflet and social media campaign, online community posts and paid advertising in the local press drew people to the project. Its prominent location led many passers by to participate. Word of mouth became a prominent engagement pathway as the project progressed.

Each of the ten 2-hour group workshops involved presentation of scientific research findings in to the habits and behaviours that increase protective factors for mental health. Presentation was followed by group discussion and a related creative activity. Participants were encouraged to follow up attendance by taking ‘Next Steps’ i.e. implementing their learning in their daily lives. Workshops could be attended in any number or combination, i.e. Completing 1, 4, or all 10 workshops.

In addition to group workshops, the Happiness Project provided a signposting service that helped participants identify free and low cost cultural opportunities in Bristol that they could engage with for further investment in wellbeing. The project was delivered with support of 60 volunteers, 100% of whose initial contact with the project was as participants.

Project management

Project Development Lead: Lucy Duggan – partnership development, workshop development, training and evaluation lead, fundraising, workshop facilitation.

Head of Creative Direction: Lucy Barfoot - marketing, arts lead, accounts, premises, workshop facilitation.

Participation Lead: Kathryn John / Ava Maginnis – volunteer management, outreach work, diary management, workshop facilitation.

Volunteers: Workshop support, signposting support, marketing.


The Happiness Project was developed in consultation with qualified positive psychologists and fully insured. All staff and volunteers underwent boundaries, confidentiality, health and safety and safeguarding training and received regular supervision. In 2013 it was awarded AQP statusduring NHS Bristol’s Modernising Mental Health Programme.


Workshops were free to attend and accepted donations.

Participation in evaluation was optional and subject to consent.

Evaluation methods and findings

University of West England’s Arts and Health Research Programme helped Light Box to produce an evaluation protocol for determining the outcomes of The Happiness Project, using a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data.

For the 3 year Happiness Project:
Workshops delivered: 268
Total workshop participants: 3282

Supported using public funding by the Arts Council England