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Social relationships have a value. The activities implemented and researched as part of our Connected Communities programme demonstrate that through working strategically and inclusively with communities this value can be grown by connecting people to one another in their local areas.

TheRSA has worked in partnership with the Centre for Citizenship and Community based at the School of Social Work at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) and the Personal Social Services Research Unit at the London School of Economics to conduct research across seven neighbourhoods in England with local people, third sector and statutory partners.Following this research, interventions were co-produced with local people that were intended to facilitate networking and build positive social and community connections. These included changes in the way services are delivered (using for example self-directed support), the introduction of co-production models for managing health or community development projects which foster self-help and collective action, and light touch ways to enable existing social networks to become more visible, inclusive, and useful.

Each project developed under this programme was evaluated in a consistent manner, using a framework that covers impacts on sense of community and inclusion; mental and subjective wellbeing; positive personal connections and feelings of connectedness. The findings have been summarised in our publication: Community Capital: The Value of Connected Communities.

Funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund.