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Big Local - big opportunity - big impact!

Local Trust hopes to show that giving people more control over their lives and their communities will improve their health

December 2013

People in Big Local areas across England will be involved in independent ground breaking research to be undertaken by the National Institute for Health Research’s School for Public Health Research (NIHR SPHR). SPHR will research whether giving people greater control over their lives and their community can positively affect their health and wellbeing.

The Big Local programme is run by Local Trust and partners and funded by the Big Lottery Fund with an investment of over £200m. Big Local is happening in 150 communities across England over the next 15 years. It provides residents in each community with at least £1m and a range of other support and funding to develop ways of making their areas even better places to live.

Past research suggests that greater individual and collective control can improve health and wellbeing and low levels of control may be a fundamental cause of inequalities in health.

While there is evidence that sets out the concerning inequalities in life expectancy and health across England, less is known about effective ways to support greater individual and collective control and its impact on health.

Debbie Ladds, chief executive of Local Trust said:

"We are delighted to announce that SPHR will be working with us and Big Local areas to carry out this research. We hope that Big Local will create an opportunity to produce new learning about how to reduce health inequalities through giving residents greater control over things that matter to them. We hope to use this research to influence how charities, funders and local and national Government work to support communities in the future."

SPHR’s goal is to produce high quality evidence needed by public health practice to improve the health of the population and help reduce health inequalities.

Jennie Popay, Professor of Public Health and Sociology, Lancaster University, who is leading the research, said:

"There are major gaps in the current evidence on potential health benefits of initiatives that support greater community control. Local Trust should therefore be commended for agreeing to this independent evaluation of Big Local on the wider social determinants of health of local populations and on health inequalities more broadly."

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Contact details

Local Trust

Mark Breen, communications and public affairs co-ordinator,

0203 588 0572



Jennie Popay – Professor of Public Health and Sociology

01524 593377

Notes to editors

Local Trust | Big Local

  • Big Local is administered by Local Trust using over £200m in funding from the Big Lottery Fund. It was launched in July 2010 to support 150 small urban and rural communities to come together to make their areas even better places to live.
  • Big Local is targeting areas that may not have been successful in gaining funding and resources in the past. Each Big Local area is receiving at least £1m Lottery funding over at least the next 10 years, along with support, training, and networking opportunities, to help residents develop plans to improve their area and empower them to find solutions that work for their communities.
  • Local Trust, a company limited by guarantee with company number 07833396 and charity, number 1147511. Local Trust is the corporate trustee of Big Local Trust, a charitable trust with charity number 1145916 established by the Big Lottery Fund and Local Trust to fund Big Local. Local Trust works closely with Big Local areas and partner organisations to support residents to help them make best use of Big Local and their funding.
  • For enquiries about Local Trust or Big Local please call 020 3588 0565 or email:
  • Big Lottery Fund, the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors, has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004. Full details of the work of the Big Lottery Fund, its programmes and awards are available on the website: Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888, Out of hours: 07867 500 572, Public enquiries line: 08454 102030, Textphone: 08456 021


  • Established in April 2012 with a budget of £20 million over five years, the NIHR School for Public Health Research (SPHR) is a partnership between eight leading academic centres with excellence in applied public health research in England and is funded by the National Institute for Health Research. For more information please visit
  • The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is funded by the Department of Health to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. Since its establishment in April 2006, the NIHR has transformed research in the NHS. Together, the NIHR people, programmes, centres of excellence and systems represent the most integrated health research system in the world. For further information, visit the NIHR website


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