Communities in Control

Research by NIHR School for Public Health Research (SPHR)

Communities in Control is a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded research programme in Big Local areas. The study explores whether and how the health of individuals and communities is affected when local people have greater control over decisions affecting the places where they live.

The first part of the Communities in Control (CiC) study took part from January 2014 to December 2015 and identified ways that control is developing among groups of residents involved in Big Local, such as the ability to take action and influence change in local areas. The first phase also looked at what factors influenced the ways that Big Local developed locally.

The second phase of the study started in October 2015 and ended in March 2017. This phase researched how residents’ actions through Big Local could potentially lead to improvements in neighbourhood conditions that affect health and wellbeing (e.g. transport provision, the environment), whether or not health is a direct aim of these activities.

Phases 1 and 2 were funded by the NIHR School for Public Health Research (SPHR).

The third phase of the study started March 2018 and runs until May 2021. This phase is funded by the NIHR Public Health Research Programme. This latest phase investigates whether being actively involved in Big Local has an impact on residents’ health and wellbeing over the longer term, and if there are wider benefits for the health of local populations in Big Local areas. The research involves interviewing partnership members in 15 Big Local areas as well as observing activities taking place locally.  Local Trust has also included questions about health and wellbeing in their bi-annual survey of all 150 areas, for use by the research programme.

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.

You can find more about the Communities in Control Study, here www.communitiesincontrol.uk

Communities in Control team: Jennie Popay j.popay@lancaster.ac.uk