22 June, 2023
People’s Health Trust has co-funded a new report published today by What Works Centre for Wellbeing on community agency, control and wellbeing.
Commissioned by What Works Centre for Wellbeing the evidence review explores how exercising community agency, community control and community power impacts community wellbeing.
From an initial list of more than 5000 studies of place based evaluations, the review used evidence from 27 studies of peer reviewed and grey literature including independent evaluations of the Trust’s Local Conversations and Active Communities programmes.
We know from our funding programmes that taking collective action and building greater community power has important benefits linked to health and wellbeing. The review measured a range of community wellbeing outcomes including social connections and control – the foundations of the Trust’s funding.
This review adds to the evidence base on the impact of control and community power and provides good indications that improved community agency and control can lead to improved community wellbeing. However, it also finds that practitioners looking to develop community power approaches in their programmes should also consider and mitigate the risks, including causing tension or power imbalances, to avoid unintentionally causing harm.
It makes a number of recommendations for researchers, practitioners funders and policy makers including placing value and recognition on the community agency in the long term and the importance of measuring effectively beyond the immediate period following funding.