Well, it’s that time of year again. Royal Mail has published their annual happiness index for the UK – the list that showcases the best places to live in the UK, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Each year they look at a variety of factors, including reported personal well-being, life expectancy, earnings, inequality, carbon emissions, crime, deprivation and access to health services. Then they tally it all up, and come up with a list of the happiest places to live in the UK. And the 2019 results are in!
Where Does Reading Rank?
Despite being based in the neighbouring town of Newbury, at Verbatim we consider Reading our spiritual home. It’s where a lot of our clients are based, where some of our team live, and where we go to enjoy a night on the town or a spot of shopping. It’s our closest city (almost), so we consider ourselves part of the Reading community and take pride in it.
So, how did we do? How did Reading rank? After all, we were hoping to clinch the top spot this year. But sadly, we didn’t make it. In fact, we didn’t even break the top 10.
Instead, the happiest places to live in England are:
- Ribble Valley
- Forest Health
- Surrey Health
- Epsom and Ewell
So we’re close, and some of our neighbouring areas are up there, but not quite there yet. Unfortunately, Royal Mail hasn’t yet released their full list, so we don’t know how close we were. But the survey was done on around 30 million addresses throughout the UK, so we’re bound to be in there somewhere. For now though, we missed out on top spot, so it’s time to focus on making Reading a happier place for next years attempt.
How Could Reading Be Happier?
That’s the million dollar question isn’t it? How can we make this beautiful almost-city happier for everyone? It’s a difficult one, especially since there are a lot of things that aren’t possible, and you’re never going to please everyone. But we have a few ideas…
Reduction In Crime: Crime rates play a big factor in the happiness survey, and in the happiness of the population. In places where crime is less prominent, people feel safer in their homes and communities, improving their general sense of wellbeing. Reading has been doing well at improving crime rates over the last few years, but there were still 16,337 crimes committed in Reading last year, with the most common being ASB’s, violent crime, theft and shoplifting. Lowering those big crime areas could do a lot for the happiness of Reading’s citizens.
Less Stress: Stress is a killer when it comes to happiness, but everyone gets it. The key is making it easier for people in Reading to handle stress, and to help them recover quicker. That could be a range of things, from encouraging more health and wellbeing based businesses into the area, improving amenities, investing in local mental healthcare facilities, or simply encouraging local businesses to adopt healthier workplace practices to reduce employee stress levels. If you could remove the stress from your life, we guarantee you would be happier.
Free Up Time For Business Owners: Reading is a thriving business hub, so anything that can make business owners happier will help contribute to the city’s happiness as a whole. Around 2.5 million people in the UK suffer from phone phobia or phone anxiety, and that includes business owners. But if you’re a business owner, being anxious of talking on the phone is a major handicap. So what if we could take that stress away and free up the time business owners spent on the phone? Then they could be happier, with less stress in their life and more free time to spend on the things they enjoy.
At Verbatim, we love the idea of Reading becoming a happier town, and one day securing that ‘happiest place to live’ award. It would be an amazing thing for everyone, from residents to business owners and more. And when all those business owners get so busy they can’t answer their phones, we’re here to help! To find out more about what we do, just get in touch with the team today.