Cover: Understanding the views of organisational and community leaders on the factors that most affect quality of life in Greater Cambridge

Understanding the views of organisational and community leaders on the factors that most affect quality of life in Greater Cambridge

Published Mar 1, 2022

by Eliane Dufresne, Andreas Culora, Margaretha Bonsu, Christian Van Stolk

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Research Questions

  1. Currently, how do organisational and community leaders in the Greater Cambridge area feel about overall quality of life for them and the communities they are part of?
  2. Which dimensions of quality of life are of most importance to organisational and community leaders and their groups in affecting overall quality of life in the Greater Cambridge area?
  3. How does the prioritisation of quality of life dimensions differ by organisational and community leaders' various personal and organisational characteristics in the Greater Cambridge area?
  4. How, if at all, has the COVID-19 outbreak impacted how organisational and community leaders in the Greater Cambridge area perceive current overall quality of life and the importance of quality of life dimensions?

Measures of Quality of Life (QOL) have become an increasingly vital tool to inform local decision making, particularly around maximising the QOL of those living and working in local areas and stimulating prosperity and economic growth locally. Despite this, bespoke local QOL measures or research to understand QOL in specific local areas in the UK are less common. Within this context, this study's overall aim was to understand the views of organisational and community leaders on the factors that most affect QOL in Greater Cambridge—one such area where no local QOL measure or mechanism for monitoring QOL over time exists. Organisational and community leaders were engaged in this research through a survey and interviews. The insights garnered from this population provide a valuable starting point for understanding the views of different organisations and communities in Greater Cambridge on the factors affecting QOL in the area. For example, personal relationships, health and well-being were found to be key factors affecting QOL in Greater Cambridge. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has primarily negatively impacted overall QOL in Greater Cambridge and affected views on some of the key factors affecting QOL in the area; some factors (e.g. sense of community in the local area) were deemed more important in affecting overall QOL during the pandemic, while others were deemed less important (e.g. how councils run things, traffic). The research also pointed to the need to regularly monitor QOL in the area through a Greater Cambridge QOL measure.

Key Findings

Personal relationships, health and well-being are key factors affecting overall quality of life in Greater Cambridge

  • Personal relationships, health and well-being are ranked by survey respondents as key dimensions affecting overall QOL when thinking about a time before or during the COVID-19 pandemic or about the future. This is particularly true for personal relationships, which are ranked highly across all three time points.

The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted overall quality of life in Greater Cambridge, and has affected views on some of the key factors affecting overall quality of life

  • Most surveyed respondents report a negative impact of COVID-19 on their overall QOL, although a minority indicate that the pandemic has positively impacted their overall QOL. The COVID-19 pandemic also influenced survey respondents' views about the factors most affecting overall QOL. A sense of community in the local area and work-life balance emerged as more important in affecting overall QOL when survey respondents thought about a time during the pandemic compared to pre-pandemic or future levels. Conversely, the local education system, how councils run things, traffic, local businesses and the economy seemingly became less important in affecting overall QOL when survey respondents thought about a time during the pandemic.

Future work should build towards a Greater Cambridge quality of life measure

  • This could be achieved by mobilising secondary data sources, establishing a regular survey of the Greater Cambridge population, or undertaking regular qualitative research with organisational and community leaders in area.

Research conducted by

This research was prepared for Cambridge Ahead and conducted by RAND Europe.

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