Affluent Royal town just sixth in Kent ‘well-being’ survey
For a well-off and secure part of Kent, one would expect Tunbridge Wells residents to be among the happiest in the county if not the whole of the United Kingdom.
But it seems the adage that money does not bring happiness seems to be true.
According to a national survey carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Tunbridge Wells ranks just sixth in a list of 13 Kent local authorities with a score of 7.55 out of 10.
Gravesham is top of the Kent table with 7.77 and Dover bottom with 7.03.
Chris Munday, chief executive of the mental health charity Crossways Community, said: “Money does not automatically bring you happiness.
“Tunbridge Wells is an affluent town with lots going for it – jobs, security and material possessions. On the flip side there is a lot of pressure on young people to succeed in education, for instance.
“If you’re on the London-bound plat-form of the station in Tunbridge wells at 5.30 in the morning there are a lot of folk who are well off, get paid very well but probably wouldn’t want to be there in an ideal world.”
Mr Munday lists community, family, volunteering, friendship and neighbourliness as some of the foundations in people’s lives to make them feel happy.
“Doing something new and staying out of the rut is also massively important as is taking notice of the world around us and being aware of our own feelings.”
Rev Jim Stewart of St John’s Church in Ferndale believes a sense of purpose in one’s live is ‘really important’ to happiness.
He added: “When people find them-selves trapped in a good job and reason-ably well-off, they sometimes find happi-ness slipping away.
“A sense of purpose is really important, that we are doing what we do because we want to be doing it. Quite a lot of people who are doing quite well have lost that sense of focus.”
Rev Stewart said that sometimes when couples have children later in life – when their habits in adulthood have already been formed – can cause pressure because they bring their issues with them.
Fermanagh and Omagh in Northern Ireland came out on top in the UK with a rating of 8.26 and Bolsover in Derbyshire was least contented with 6.89.
The ratings cover the period 2014 to 2015 and overall the UK average figure of 7.46 is up 2011 when the so-called ‘happiness’ surveys – backed by PM David Cameron – were first started.
Glenn Everett, ONS director of well-being, said: “Overall, people are generally rating their lives higher that they did four years ago.”