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North Cumbria: Stroke Prevention

This is the case study of North Cumbria STP a Building Health Partnerships (BHP) area. It tells the story of how they worked across sectors in North Cumbria to prevent people from having strokes through raising awareness of risk factors and offering health screening at community events.

Their aim was to develop an initiative shaped by the community and delivered in partnership with patients – ‘community-led and NHS enabled’ – to explore opportunities for both preventing and raising awareness of stroke. They also wanted to learn how to spread this way of working to other geographic areas and for other health conditions across North Cumbria.

The work was led by a steering group, with representatives of the Rotary club, the West Cumbrians’ Voice for Healthcare, The Stroke Association, North West Ambulance  Service, Healthwatch Cumbria, Public Health, Community Pharmacy Cumbria and the local NHS (North Cumbria Integrated Care System), with active participation from patients with lived experience.

This work was supported by the Building Health Partnerships Programme delivered by the Institute for Voluntary Action Research and Social Enterprise UK and jointly funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and NHS England and NHS Improvement. Click here for further information and resources.

West Yorkshire & Harrogate: Community-led public health

This is the case study of the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Building Health Partnerships (BHP) area. It tells the story of how they worked across sectors in West Yorkshire and Harrogate to prevent sight loss and reduce the chances of young people developing musculoskeletal conditions. 

West Yorkshire and Harrogate ICS have developed a ‘blended intervention’ approach aimed at understanding which clinical interventions or support services could be enhanced by collaboration across the health and voluntary sectors. The BHP area aimed to strengthen existing relationships and involve more community members by building on ‘Harnessing the Power of Communities’, an existing programme that linked VCSEs and healthcare agencies.

The work was led by a steering group comprising representatives of the West Yorkshire and Harrogate ICS, Calderdale and Wakefield CCGs, Wakefield Council Public Health, Voluntary Action Calderdale, Drop the Knife, Visits Unlimited and Active Calderdale, with active participation from the community and young people.

This work was supported by the Building Health Partnerships Programme delivered by the Institute for Voluntary Action Research and Social Enterprise UK and jointly funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and NHS England and NHS Improvement. Click here for further information and resources.

A toolkit for conducting community research

This research toolkit was produced to support community researchers conducting an action research project as part of the Building Health Partnerships programme in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. It was designed and planned specifically for scoping calls with voluntary sector and community leaders on the issue of delayed transfers of care.

Patients and communities driving progress in self care

This briefing reports on the Building Health Partnerships Self Care programme and the seven areas where it operated in 2017-2018. The key message is that by building health partnerships between the statutory sector and local communities, we can: 


  • Improve access to existing community-centred approaches
  • Test new approaches to workforce development
  • Define outcomes and the ‘difference made’ by community approaches to health
  • Co-design, co-direct and co-produce services to deliver a health and care system that works for local people
  • Begin to address financial and contractual barriers to effective and sustainable community-centred approaches and social prescribing
  • Empower communities to set up new initiatives 
  • Create a shared vision of social prescribing and the ‘infrastructure’ needed to support community-centred approaches
  • Build partnerships and foundations for more cross-sector working


In this briefing, you will find examples that illustrate how each of these was achieved and the difference made in communities. 

Briefing One: Improving self care at a local level.

Are you interested in how STPs are working with the voluntary sector and local people to design health and care services? Do you want to know how self care is perceived at a local level? Or where to start with setting up partnership working? 

In eight areas of England, we’ve been working with Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) to facilitate collaboration between local people, the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector and Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs). 

In these areas, people are working together over the course of four partnership meetings, to identify and deliver improvements to self care at a local level.

This briefing takes learning from the first sessions, and covers: 
  • What does self care mean locally? 
  • Emerging themes from the eight areas
  • Examples of activity so far
  • Learning from the process
  • Questions we will be exploring over the next few months

Listening to people

Are you a grantmaker? Do you want to shape grants with the people they are intended to help? As more and more funders set out to involve beneficiaries in grant-making, we share 10 things to think about from our 2013 research with the Big Lottery Fund.

Briefing Three: What we learned from sharing the research

In November 2016 we published Small charities and social investment, reporting on the experiences and opinions of 25 small charities and social enterprises across England. Since then we have been sharing and building on our findings through giving presentations, brokering meetings and running workshops with investors and intermediaries. Over four months we have reached more than 250 people across 12 separate events.

This briefing summarises what we learned from sharing the research and sets out three areas for further action:

  1. The narrative and language around social investment
  2. Workforce development
  3. Connecting grant funding with social investment

We hope that you’ll find the seven key learning points useful and that you’ll share them with your own networks.  

Briefing Two: Early research considerations

This is the second in a series of briefings to share what we have learnt from charities about their experiences of social investment.   After spending time with trustees and senior staff from fifteen charities we look at some of the points and issues they raised including:  

  • The reasons why they applied for social investment.
  • The experience of applying for and managing loans from the trustee perspective.
  • The importance of the relationship with the investor. 

And finally we share the emerging themes from these discussions.

Briefing One: Points from the literature

Our previous study into charities and social investment on behalf of the Charity commission, flagged a need to improve mutual understanding between investors and investees. Our starting point for new research was to review existing literature and insights.   In this first briefing we share our observations, argue for more detailed market segmentation in social investment research and for more effort to integrate social investment research with wider charity and charity finance research. We also suggest that for smaller charities, social investment is a means to deliver on their mission and not a goal in its own right. It was really helpful to use NCVO’s new small charities almanac for its great breakdown of smaller charity stats.