Research into the impact of the Big Local programme

150 communities around England are part of the Big Local programme. Some of these have been delivering activities for up to four years now, so Local Trust (the organisation running Big Local) wanted to find out what difference Big Local is beginning to have. As part of our research framework with Local Trust, we spent several months talking to local residents, volunteers and support organisations, finding out about the emerging impacts and achievements in 20 Big Local areas. At the same time, we also looked at what the Big Local areas are doing to try to measure impact, so that the learning from this can help other Big Local areas.

We found that lots of things are beginning to change in Big Local areas, even when the Big Local partnerships hadn’t necessarily recognised this themselves. For individuals, the most frequently reported types of impact were: new skills and learning new things; developing confidence; getting more involved in the community; employment and enterprise; and personal social benefits. At a community level, the most frequently reported impacts were: new services and facilities available and being used; benefits for local organisations; improved community spirit; the area becoming nicer and improved perceptions about the area; local people having a voice. 

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To download the summary or full report, follow this link:

In terms of how areas measure impact, we discovered that areas are often finding this quite difficult, not being sure about how best to get started with it or what the best techniques are to use. However, we also found some great examples of how areas are keeping a track of what difference their activities make. There are a couple of blogs on the Local Trust website based on our research, one on why and how to measure impact, and the other with some ‘top tips’. Follow these links: