The Active Communities evaluation carried out by Ecorys found that projects funded through People’s Health Trust's Active Communities programme had supported people to come together and boost social connections while building control through collective activity, with the projects being a unique source of social interaction for many of those involved. Evidence also suggests that many projects were successful in reaching people who were or had been previously socially isolated to build their confidence, skills and aspirations.

The programme supports participants to come up with their own locally determined ideas, in order to strengthen social connections and encourage greater collective control, two important social determinants of health which form the foundations for good health.

Case study research found that the effects of these improved outcomes for individuals could be profound, providing them with the freedom to be themselves and develop support networks that effectively supported the transfer of control to communities.

Key findings

  • 94% of participants strongly agreed that they were making new friends through the project;
  • 84% felt they could have a say in how activities were designed, developed and run;
  • 92% said the programme is helping their local area become a better place to live.

About the evaluation

Ecorys UK independently evaluated the Active Communities programme’s theory of change and its impact from 2016 to 2020. The third and final year of the Active Communities evaluation was published in September 2020.

“We aim to build a stronger local community, to help more people feel more confident, and to give community a sense of collective control over decisions which benefit the local community.”

Project Lead