Early findings from the second phase of the NIHR SPHR-funded Communities in Control study are now available. The study is evaluating whether place-based programmes like Big Local can help to reduce the inequalities that exist in health between geographical areas in England.
Findings highlight how participation has influenced the wellbeing of the residents most actively involved in the early stages of the programme. The research also explores how action taken by communities to improve their neighbourhoods as places to live, could have longer-term benefits for health.
Funded by the Big Lottery, Big Local is a major place-based initiative rolled out in 150 areas in England and managed by Local Trust. In each area, the programme provides residents with at least £1 million and a range of support to make a difference to the things that matter most to them in their community.
During the second phase of the study (October 2015 – March 2017), the team conducted interviews and surveys with residents and workers in 15 Big Local areas and observed several meetings and events over a number of months. The research also involved an in-depth review of newspaper coverage of two Big Local areas.
With funding from SPHR, the team are now collaborating with national organisations including Local Trust, public health professionals and residents of Big Local areas to produce web-based resources and to organise networking activities about the role of community action in tackling health inequalities.
The study will ultimately inform much-needed evidence on more effective approaches to support community empowerment in ways that can enhance health.
The first two phases of the Communities in Control study involved direct collaboration between five NIHR SPHR members (LiLaC, Exeter, FUSE, LSHTM and ScHARR). It was coordinated by Professor Jennie Popay (LiLaC).
The team particularly wishes to acknowledge and thank residents and workers in Big Local areas who have generously given their time to the study as well as Local Trust.
Download the Phase 2 update using the link below
Visit the SPHR publications pages for further research summaries and videos from the study.