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Communities in Control study

Research by NIHR School for Public Health Research (SPHR)

June 2016

Communities in Control is NIHR SPHR’s research programme in Big Local areas. The study is exploring whether the health of individuals and communities increases when local people have greater control over decisions affecting the places where they live. 

Phase 1 (Jan 2014 – Dec 2015) focused on exploratory work to understand early roll out of Big Local. It also developed methods for a second phase. 

Findings reveal how ‘collective control’ among groups of residents – the ability to take action together and influence change – is emerging and the different types of participatory ‘spaces’ that are created for people to get involved. The team has also found out about the factors that influence the ways that residents work together and with other external organisations, such as levels of trust between stakeholders. Sometimes these factors appear to have helped or have got in the way of how residents take action together in their community.

Now in its second phase, the Communities in Control study has turned to consider the ways that collective action taken by communities to improve their neighbourhoods develops over time in a larger number of areas and to what effect for their health and wellbeing.

The study will ultimately inform much needed evidence on more effective ways to support community empowerment in ways that can enhance health and reduce inequalities.  Findings from Phase 1 also offer practical insights about the ways that participation among people living in more disadvantaged circumstances might be better supported.

You can download a summary of the Phase 1 findings using the blue button below. More information and bite size videos about different aspects of the research are available on the NIHR SPHR Communities in Control website

Phase 1 summary

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