The report looked at 29 Local People projects, based in communities experiencing the highest levels of disadvantage across areas of England, Scotland and Wales. The programme aim was to support communities to gain greater control over identifying and taking action on relevant local priorities around health inequalities.

Overall, the evaluation found that projects had a positive impact in their communities, including important improvements in the neighbourhoods and communities. The positive impacts include improved social connections within and between groups of people. Sense of belonging and community spirit increased, and quality of life improved with better places to live created.

The evaluation also found that residents closely involved in making decisions and delivering the projects have significantly increased their confidence, knowledge, understanding and skills. They felt able to make the changes they want to see in their neighbourhoods, and are more in control.

Key findings

  • 81% of residents involved in a Local People project said they made new friends;
  • 64% of residents involved in a Local People project developed new skills;
  • 77% people said strongly belong in their neighbourhood, compared to 60% average across England.

About the evaluation

New Economics Foundation, in partnership with Leeds Beckett University independently evaluated the Local People programme’s theory of change and its impact from 2017 and 2019.

The Local People funding programme worked with communities to deliver their ideas to address local issues. Each project was supported by a national charity that operates locally. The Trust worked with national charities Scope, Sustrans, Youth Sport Trust, The Conservation Volunteers and Royal Voluntary Service. The programme started in 2015 and closed in 2021.

“It’s about being given the opportunity to do something about the issues. The projects that we are working on, it is all coming together to try and make that difference. Together we are addressing those issues. Just being part of the Local People project – for me, we have come on so far over the months, because together we can do so much.” – Project participant