People and Communities

We are partnering with six communities across England and Wales in long-term work designed to support transformational change.

About our long-term work to support change

We are working with partners in each place using an evidence-based approach to bring people together to collectively address issues identified as a priority for each individual community.  This work is not about funding but is instead about working together to find new ways of using the existing assets and resources in a place and building a collaborative approach to doing this. 

This work involves:

  • people who fund services in the broadest sense including trusts and foundations and statutory funders
  • people who deliver services such as small local charities and community-based organisations
  • the local private sector
  • people who use those services and live locally 

We’re using a set of core approaches including thinking about the relationships between people, organisations and sectors; recognising and working with power dynamics; involving the community and working with the assets in a place, and staying with the work through potentially challenging and uncertain times.

We are exploring what our role can be as a Foundation, to resource the process and as a partner in the work, offering a convening, facilitative and neutral role.

The six communities we are working in

  1. Redcar and Cleveland  We are supporting ongoing work locally including the development of Local Access funding to support social investment and social enterprise, and also engaging with partners locally around developing services and using resources in innovative ways

  2. Halton – The focus of the work in Halton is on food inequality, which is an issue identified through a series of workshops with local stakeholders.  There has also been work delivered by the team together with local partners in linking businesses with VCSE organisations

3. Bolsover – The focus of the work in Bolsover is poverty and inequality and has focused in on aspiration as an area where we can collectively make an impact.  We are also piloting our Organisational Resilience programme to support local Voluntary, Social and Community Enterprise (VCSE) organisations 

4. Telford and Wrekin- We held a series of workshops during 2021 to identify a good starting point that would fit the local context in Telford and Wrekin, and this was identified as early intervention with a particular focus on aspiration and unlocking potential.  Alongside this our team have developed work locally linking businesses and VCSE organisations, and Telford and Wrekin was also one of the communities where our Organisational Resilience programme was piloted

5. Great Yarmouth – we are supporting the Great Yarmouth Homeless Alliance and have been since its inception in late 2020.  This work emerged as a result of conversations in the area during the first lockdown in 2020 where people were accommodated in hotels during the ‘Everyone in’ policy

6. Merthyr Tydfil – The focus in Merthyr Tydfil is on children and young people’s mental health, which emerged as a priority for stakeholders in the area through a series of facilitated sessions.  Organisations in Merthyr Tydfil were also part of our Organisational Resilience pilot, and have taken part in work to link businesses and charities.


Why these six communities?

We developed an initial long list based partly on size of the area, profile, statistical measures and insights from our regional managers who advised on places where there might be an appetite to work with us.  Based on this we developed a shortlist of places and started having some conversations to find out if our approach could support local areas.  The final six were arrived at based on response and engagement from a range of partners, across sectors, in the local areas which we felt was a strong base to start from.


At a glance: Our approach and evidence base

Informed by research, and by our work with small and local charities, we are working with six communities in England and Wales to come together to support the delivery of services to the people who need it most. This infographic explains the background and approach to our People and Communities work. Click each image to enlarge or download the infographic as a poster here.

We know that many communities around the UK are facing a similar set of challenges. Our approach is informed by what small charities tell us, as well as a wider evidence base about what issues are affecting our communities.

Some challenges won’t go away, but we can change the way we work together to face them. There is a strong evidence base around how all the local people and services in a place can work together to create change across the system.

If we work together in this way, we can get to a better place for all of us. Our collective efforts will mean everyone’s needs are met. We will learn together and share what we find out about what works, so others can use it

You can read the research here or request our bibliography from Harriet Ballance, our People and Communities Lead, by emailing

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