What is the Community Spirit Level Programme?

RSPH was commissioned by The Health Foundation to develop and test a ‘Community Spirit Level’ tool with six communities across the UK. Through interviews, research and collaboration with community groups, the programme aims to understand what underpins strong and healthy communities, with a focus on community spirit. 

The Community Spirit Level programme will create an evidence-based toolwhich will enable community organisations to better understand and assess how strengthening community spirt through relationships, cohesion and social action, can help improve their communities' health and wellbeing.

We are working in collaboration with Locality, a community development organisation, to create and deliver the programme. We are also working with seven local community organisations to design and test the community spirit measurement tool.

Communities and social networks. which we all belong to, have a significant impact on our health and wellbeing. The 2010 Marmot Review revealed:

  • Just under one fifth (19%) of people living in the most deprived areas of England have a severe lack of social support
  •  Around 25% of people living in the most deprived area of England lack some social support, compared to just 12% - 23% in the least deprived areas.

A lack of social networks and community can lead to chronic loneliness, long-term damage to physiological health and unhealthy behaviours and choices. There is also evidence that people in communities with strong social relationships are likely to live longer than individuals with poor social connections.

The positive effects of fostering community spirit can bring communities together, support health and wellbeing, and help communities to access health information. 

What Will the Community Spirit Level Programme Achieve?

The programme aims to understand how community spirit impacts our overall health and wellbeing and look at ways to measure and promote community spirit through local groups and organisations.

The programme will also develop and launch a ‘Community Spirit Level’ tool which local authorities can use to measure and gauge the levels of community spirit. This will be tested with six communities across the UK with the plan to roll this out to communities across the country.

The plans for the programme include:

  • Undertake research to understand community spirt including a literature review, collation of experts’ views, a workshop and a national survey
  • Develop a Community Spirit Level framework and test it with 6 communities across the UK
  • Develop a report and a toolkit targeted at community and public sector organisations.

Case Studies and Blogs

Our Community Spirit Level programme's case studies and blogs show how community spirit benefits communities and organisations and what successes the programme's collaborators have had.

Community spirit protects health and saves lives

Nelly Araujo, Development Manager at RSPH, introduces our Community Spirit programme and explains how community organisations have made a huge impact on the health and wellbeing of their area during the Covid-19 crisis.