At the time this report was produced, the Trust had supported over 1,837 projects, benefitting more than 260,000 people. Project participants reported benefits regarding factors impacting their health such as greater social connections. Almost all projects reported that participants felt less socially isolated, a key factor contributing to poor health.

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. Participants ultimately started to represent their local neighbourhood and have started to influence neighbourhood services.

Key findings

93% of projects reported participants had built friendships and connections as a result of being involved;

91% of projects reported participants said they felt less isolated;

89% of projects reported that they had supported increased confidence for participants.

“I wanted to get involved with something that could help people who have problems, like myself. I used to be nervous and lacked confidence. I was always worried about what people think. I’ve got much better. Still not 100%, but a lot better.”

Project participant

About the evaluation

Ecorys UK independently evaluated the Active Communities programme’s theory of change and its impact from 2016 to 2020. This second year Active Communities evaluation was published in October 2018.