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Power and leadership

What we’re learning from Big Local

Update from the Local Trust research and learning team

By Jayne Humm, programme manager, Local Trust

At Local Trust, we’re testing new approaches to funding communities. This makes evaluation especially crucial: so that we can learn for the future, so that we can help residents to succeed and so we can inform and inspire others supporting communities.

For Big Local we have an evaluation plan that explains all the ways we are researching Big Local up to the completion of the programme in 2026. Here are just a few highlights from recent findings and some news of projects in the pipeline.

Last year’s findings


Coming up in 2016

New research is now underway, which will help us answer questions such as:

  • How are residents engaging other local people in improving their Big Local area? What works and what doesn’t?
  • What different kinds of impact are occurring in Big Local areas and at what level?
  • How effective is the learning and training support that we offer to residents?
  • How are Big Local areas working with health agencies?

Long term studies

Our Bigger Story multimedia evaluation

The Third Sector Research Centre at University of Birmingham are leading the first stage of a 10-year multimedia evaluation of Big Local. They have trained residents in 15 Big Local areas to capture video, podcasts and images of the changes they are seeing in their community. Some of the films produced so far are on the Our Bigger Story playlist on our YouTube channel and you can also visit the Our Bigger Story website.

Communities in Control NIHR School for Public Health Research research

The School for Public Health Research are studying a sample of Big Local areas over at least three years to find out whether community health and wellbeing increases when local people have greater control over decisions to improve their area. Find out more.

Find out more

All the published research and evaluation about Big Local is available in the research section of our website.