A curated and searchable collection of community-related research reports, case studies and publications
Community empowerment and mental wellbeing: longitudinal findings from a survey of people actively involved in the Big Local place-based initiative in England
Community empowerment initiatives are receiving increased interest as ways of improving health and reducing health inequalities. This research examines longitudinal associations between collective control, social-cohesion and mental wellbeing amongst participants in the Big Local community empowerment initiative across 150 disadvantaged areas o…
One pandemic, many responses
This is the third report from Local Trust’s research study exploring how 26 communities across England responded to the COVID-19 crisis.
It follows Strong than anyone thought, published in September 2020, which looked at the initial lockdown period and Now they see us, published in August 2021, which saw the communities adapting to a…
Understanding impact for community businesses – Challenges and good practices for community businesses and funders
This paper explores what community businesses can do to understand their social impact, reflecting on the challenges and building on some of the good practices identified through three Power to Change-funded programmes (Bright Ideas, Trade Up and the Community Business Fund). This is presented following the three main elements that community bu…
People shaping places, places shaping people: Community asset ownership
More than 6,300 assets are in community ownership in England today. This model plays an essential role in ensuring places are built on resilient entities and benefit those living locally. As well as improving service delivery and financial sustainability, community asset ownership has been found to reduce vacancy rates, enable ‘bottom-up’ r…
Rural as a region: the hidden challenge for Levelling Up
The report finds that the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper metrics – used to identify the regions most in need of levelling up – are too urban-focused and do not account for disadvantage in rural economies within regions, often linked to limited local employment prospects, poor transport networks and weak connectivity.
It calls for the …
The role of HEIs in the climate action agenda
This report considers the role of Higher Education Institutions in the climate action agenda. It explores how universities are responding to the ‘net zero’ challenge, how they are protecting and preparing places and communities from climate impacts, and how they might extend a ‘civic’ approach that works in partnership with other local …
Understanding the financial impact of Power to Change’s grant funding on community businesses
This research paper emerged from the need to better understand the financial impact generated by Power to Change’s investment in community businesses. In other words, several years after Power to Change’s investment, what has the financial impact of each programme been on its grantees? The paper draws on previous work that identified the va…
Big Local relationships with public agencies
Local Trust commissioned this research to understand relationships between Big Local areas and the four most common types of public agencies they were connecting with: local authorities, housing associations, schools and health agencies.
The research will be of interest to public agencies and people working in communities who want to achieve l…
Evaluation of Keighley Community Health
GiveBradford and Power to Change have come together with the aim of creating a community led health offer in Keighley, a town in Bradford, the Keighley Community Health (KCH) grants programme. This has aimed to improve health outcomes for people in Keighley by supporting both community groups and community businesses to engage with social presc…
Residents in control: Community grants in Big Local areas
The Institute for Voluntary Action Research was commissioned by Local Trust to undertake research on community grants. The research explored conditions for successful community grant making and the benefits community grants bring to Big Local areas.
While this report has primarily been written for Local Trust, it may also provide learning for …
The role of small grants in Big Local: scoping paper
This paper aims to summarise what Local Trust knows about the small grants funds operating in Big Local areas. Research done in June 2020 found that 140 out of 150 Big Local areas were either currently running a small grants programme or had run one in the past. Small grants funds typically aim to provide money to groups operating at the grassr…
Volunteering and Big Local: Who volunteers in Big Local communities, what they do, and why
Big Local is a resident-led funding programme providing groups of people in 150 areas in England with £1.15m each, to spend across 10 to 15 years to bring about lasting change in their neighbourhoods. In Big Local areas, resident-led partnerships identify local priorities and decide how the money will be spent in their areas.
This report is a…