New partnership for community-led approaches to health and wellbeing in neighbourhoods

NHS Confederation announces new integrated neighbourhood working programme in partnership with Local Trust

4 April 2024

A new partnership between healthcare leaders and community champions will promote and test community-led approaches to health and wellbeing in some of England’s most deprived neighbourhoods.

Local Trust which delivers the radical Big Local programme in 150 communities, has teamed up with the NHS Confederation which is the membership organisation that brings together, supports and speaks for the whole healthcare system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Together they will broker practical partnerships between Big Local areas, NHS partners and others with a stake in improving the health and wellbeing of people and places.

Fostering collaboration ‘close to home’ across healthcare and care services promotes knowledge sharing, joint problem-solving, and innovation that can lead to improved service delivery, staff well-being and retention, as well as creating opportunities for new models of care that better meet the needs of the population.

Through this new Integrated Neighbourhood Working Programme, the NHS Confederation and Local Trust will focus on creating genuine partnerships that centre on community leadership in healthcare at a hyperlocal level. They will build a community of local leaders sharing learning and driving change, finding and sharing new evidence on the conditions for successful integrated approaches, and influencing and informing systemic changes to health and care at a national and system level.

To help drive this work forward, a research partner is currently being sought to help to identify and engage with health leaders already advocating for this locally and create a stronger understanding of the current position of the health and care system.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: 

“In the face of widening health inequalities, we need to create healthy places to live where people can lead good lives.

“What’s really exciting as a health organisation is to work with Local Trust, coming from the community sector, to help us to understand how we can be better at working and supporting the synergies between all those great things that communities have to offer and what we want to offer to communities, particularly in terms of how we empower people to feel more confident and more able to exercise agency, not just when it comes to health but their lives in general.

“We want this to be really practical. It’s fundamentally about creating tools that enable our partners in health and our partners in the community to work together more effectively.”

Matt Leach, chief executive of Local Trust, said:

"Twelve years of the Big Local programme have shown that when communities take the lead in identifying pressing local needs and finding ways to meet them, health and wellbeing come top of the agenda.

"All too often local people's knowledge and experience are sidelined by the need to work at scale and the convenience of existing health categories that determine public health and primary care delivery.

"By partnering with the NHS Confederation, Local Trust will be able to support the health sector in fostering community leadership on tackling health inequalities."