The NIHR SPHR’s Communities in Control study explores whether the health of individuals and communities increases when local people have greater control over decisions affecting the places where they live.
Phase 1 focused on exploratory work to understand early roll out of Big Local. It also developed methods for a second phase of the research. Findings from Phase 1 reveal how ‘collective control’ among groups of residents – the ability to take action together and influence change – is emerging and the different types of participatory ‘spaces’ being created for people to get involved. The team has also found out about the factors that influence the ways that residents work together and with other external organisations.
Now in its second phase, the team has turned to consider the ways that collective action taken by communities to improve their neighbourhoods develops over time in a larger number of areas and to what effect for their health and wellbeing. The study will ultimately inform much needed evidence on how to support community empowerment in ways that can enhance health and reduce inequalities.