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Health and wellbeing

Space to thrive

Locality’s research into the role of community spaces in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people

Overview

‘Space to thrive’ explores the role of community spaces in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people (CYP) across England.

This research was guided by the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities and engaged around 100 VCSE organisations, statutory professionals, and young people. Through this, we identified six key findings:

  • Community spaces which support CYP mental health and wellbeing come in all shapes and sizes.
  • Their support is critical in this area, both for CYP themselves and their wider communities.
  • The demand for both “open access” and “specialist” provision from community spaces in this area is increasing.
  • Community spaces offer a low or no-cost, depressurised, safe, and relaxed “third space” for CYP, away from school and home life.
  • They create positive impact across a wide range of factors affecting CYP mental health and wellbeing.
  • But, they are facing multiple challenges in sustaining their space and provision.

Based on these findings, we present 10 recommendations for the health system and VCSE sector, including at Primary Care Network, Integrated Care System, local authority, and national level. These recommendations cover:

  • Resourcing community organisations
  • Culture change and collaboration
  • Workforce development
  • National policy priorities and development

If embraced, they can help to maximise and sustain the role of community spaces in this crucial area.

Related reports

Better collaboration between Primary Care Networks and the VCSE
Health and wellbeing

Better collaboration between Primary Care Networks and the VCSE

Published: 09 August 2022
20 minute read
1 document
Overview
Overview

This project has been carried out with NHS England and NHS Improvement, as part of our work on the VCSE Health and Wellbeing Alliance.

We’ve worked with Integrated Care Systems (ICSs), Primary Care Networks (PCNs), GPs, and VCSE organisations across England to understand the challenges and opportunities in this area. This has taken place through our Community of Practice, wider Community of Influence, and further-reaching stakeholder interviews.

Community anchors and the wider determinants of health
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Community anchors and the wider determinants of health

Published: 10 August 2022
60 minute read
1 document
Overview
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This research was conducted with the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID), as part of our work on the VCSE Health and Wellbeing Alliance. We worked with 20 community anchor organisations across England to understand their impact on the wider determinants of health in their communities.

We found that their holistic, whole-person approach to support plays a vital role, allowing them to:

  • Reach a wide range of population groups
  • Impact a broad range of wider determinants
  • Improve the quality of life of their broader communities
  • Improve the quality of life of those most affected by health inequalities

The paper contains case studies, testimony, examples, and statistics on the important role community anchors play in supporting community health.