National Institute for Health Research School for Public Health Research

Read More


NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health, Research & Care

Read More

Health Protection

NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Gastrointestinal Infections

Read More

Get involved

Members of the public actively influencing the research that is carried out

Read More

Findings from the second phase of the NIHR SPHR Communities in Control study  highlight how participation has influenced the wellbeing of the residents most actively involved in Big Local.

The Communities in Control study is evaluating whether place-based programmes like Big Local can help to reduce the inequalities that exist in health between geographical areas in England.  The research  explores how action taken by communities to improve their neighbourhoods as places to live, could have longer-term benefits for health both for indivudals and local populations.

Funded by the Big Lottery, Big Local is a major place-based initiative rolled out in 150 areas in England and managed by Local Trust. In each area, the programme provides residents with at least £1 million and a range of support to make a difference to the things that matter most to them in their community.

During the second phase of the study (October 2015 – March 2017), the team conducted interviews and surveys with residents and workers in 15 Big Local areas and observed several meetings and events over a number of months. The research also involved an in-depth review of newspaper coverage of two Big Local areas.

With funding from NIHR SPHR, the team are now collaborating with national organisations including Local Trust, public health professionals and residents of Big Local areas to produce web-based resources and to organise networking activities about the role of community action in tackling health inequalities.

The study will ultimately inform much-needed evidence on more effective approaches to support community empowerment in ways that can enhance health.

The first two phases of the Communities in Control study involved direct collaboration between five NIHR SPHR members (LiLaC, Exeter, FUSE, LSHTM and ScHARR). It was coordinated by Professor Jennie Popay (LiLaC).

The team particularly wishes to acknowledge and thank residents and workers in Big Local areas who have generously given their time to the study as well as Local Trust.

Download the latest project briefings and updates using the link below

CiC - Phase 2 findings update

CiC briefing - How communities are tackling poor area reputation

You can read Local Trust's response to the findings at the link below

Big Local - findings about health - part one

You can find out more about our research into area reputation here:

Area reputation and Big Local

A new website for the project with related learning resources for communities and practitioners will be available in spring  2018

For more information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.