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Community Power: What the evidence tells us

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Community power is not a new idea. There are countless examples of community power in practice – being led by individuals, neighbours and small organisations or being adopted by local public services. 

These approaches are informed by the understanding that communities themselves have the knowledge, skills and assets to make them well-placed to identify and respond to the challenges that they face. Yet community powered approaches often operate in isolation, outside the logic of the existing system which recognises the efficacy of state- or market-led public service models, often at the expense of disempowering communities.  

This research sets out a comprehensive evidence base for community power. By bringing together existing evidence about the impact of community powered approaches – both in the UK and internationally – we set out a case for deeper change. These examples offer a way ahead for a different way of supporting people and communities to thrive – and have some significant implications for how we understand and apply evidence to a national policymaking context.