- Project run by the Royal Society for Public Health, in partnership with Locality, a national network supporting community organisations.
- Part of our programme to take action on the social determinants of health – the political, social, economic, environmental and cultural factors which shape the conditions in which we are born, grow, live, work and age. This project will focus on the role of community in shaping our health.
- Will empower communities to break down barriers to fostering good community spirit, such as tackling social isolation and lack of integration.
- A ‘Community Spirit Level’ will be produced; a tool that can be used to measure the factors in a locality that make up community spirit.
The communities that we live in and our social networks over our lifetime have a significant impact on our health and on health inequalities. In more deprived communities, almost half of people report severe lack of social networks and support, and there are high levels of chronic loneliness; making people who are at greater risk less resilient to the health effects of social and economic disadvantage.
There is evidence that developing community spirit can act as a buffer against the negative effects of low socioeconomic status. Community spirit can bring communities together, supporting health and wellbeing, enabling communities to access health information, providing care and support, and empowering individuals to connect and make a positive difference to their lives.
This project will strengthen communities by highlighting areas of good practice and will involve working with communities to break down barriers to fostering good community spirit. The team will work with Locality to review literature, engage with community organisations and consult with experts. A ‘Community Spirit Level’ tool will then be developed and tested with 10 communities across the UK.
The tool will encompass a framework and indicator set for communities and local organisations, to support their work to improve health and wellbeing, build resilience and reduce inequalities.
The tool will also be a starting point for further work looking at the economic benefits of investing in the factors that underpin community spirit.
Work will be done to identify areas of good practice, where community spirit is strong. A report will be produced that will include policy recommendations aimed at addressing the barriers to the development of community spirit.