Making an impact

04 October 2018

The Trust’s Active Communities programme is helping to create new social connections, friendships and a deeper sense of belonging in neighbourhoods.

People's Health Trust invests in great ideas across Great Britain through the Active Communities programme, which has been independently evaluated by consultancy Ecorys UK. 

The Trust has just published a summary report of the second of a four-year evaluation exploring the impact of the programme.

The Active Communities programme addresses health inequalities by supporting residents to come up with their own ideas to create change in their neighbourhood and through supporting them to build stronger connections. At the time the report was produced, the Trust had supported over 1,837 projects, benefitting more than 260,000 people.

The research showed that participants of 93 per cent of projects had more friendships and connections as a result of being involved and 91 per cent said people felt less isolated.

Residents were also increasing their knowledge, understanding and skills, which often went hand-in-hand with their increasing self-confidence – and, with that, improved aspirations.

Overall, members reported feeling happier and benefiting from a better quality of life.

Getting together regularly remains a key part of the programme’s success. It helps residents to build their confidence so people feel able to take ownership of or lead activities over time and ultimately start to represent their local neighbourhood and to start to influence neighbourhood services.

John Hume, Chief Executive at People’s Health Trust, said: “This report demonstrates clearly that there is an important link between local people being in control of what happens and the connections they make with each other. It is heartening that this is leading to increased knowledge, self-confidence and in many cases, to influencing what is happening locally. These are all very important pre-conditions for addressing the inequalities in power and which can lead to improved health outcomes.”

As part of the evaluation, Ecorys has worked with Active Communities projects across Great Britain to produce 14 in-depth case studies.

These case studies explore a diverse range of projects including a group of older residents wanting to develop their digital and social media skills to stay in touch with family and friends, to a group of residents campaigning for tenants’ rights and access to good quality, affordable and stable housing.

"When you’re isolated depression kicks in. This project is normalising, there is always someone to listen to, to have a cup of tea with. It’s a bit of a lifeline."

- Project member, East Thirsk Community Organisation


To read the summary report, click here.

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