Residents of the Local Conversation in the Old Fold and Nest Estates, Gateshead.
Residents of the Local Conversation in the Old Fold and Nest Estates, Gateshead.

People’s Health Trust is committed to being a local people-led funder. This means we wish to engage with local communities over the longer term, so that they can determine how and when the money is best spent within their local area to make it an even better place to grow, live, work and age. We believe that communities coming together and having genuine control over how, where and when money is committed is one important way to distribute funds. It places local people at the heart of local plans, rather than local people having to fit into a funder’s plans.

Local Conversations was a flexible funding model which is led by what local people want. It enabled people to have voice, control and influence over the things that matter to them locally. Residents got together to identify and agree local priorities and then take action to help address them. Using investment over a longer timeframe than many traditional grants, residents were supported by a local community organisation in their neighbourhood to realise their long-term vision for the area. The process of bringing about change was led by residents and involves deep and continuous engagement and conversations with different groups of people within the community, including residents who may not normally participate in local decision-making.

To participate in the Local Conversations programme, applicant neighbourhoods needed to:

  • have a defined population of around 4,000 people
  • fall within the 0-30% range of English, Scottish or Welsh Indices of Multiple Deprivation
  • have a local community organisation which is:
  • known by local residents;
  • understands the concepts of collective control leading to reduced health inequalities;
  • has the ability to bring people together to create stronger links and ties Trust’s to addressing health inequalities;
  • has the skills and capacity to lead the Local Conversation.

Most Local Conversations ran from 2014 to 2023 in neighbourhoods across England, Scotland and Wales. The programme ended in December 2023. Read more about Local Conversations and their achievements.