Bournemouth University: BU supports major UK study to explore community organisations on public health

A team of Bournemouth University researchers is supporting a major UK study to explore the links between organisations, health, and wellbeing.

The three-year long research is set to gather evidence of the positive impact community organisations have on public health, in the largest UK study of its kind.

The BU collaborative study will evaluate the public health benefits provided by a wide range of community-led organisations, including Poole Communities Trust, Help and Care, and Vita Nova. These organisations will be encouraging activities ranging from community gardening to drama production.

The study was initiated in response to an NHS call for research into the health effects of local groups.

BU Professor of Nursing Sociology Sam Porter is working with a team of researchers from Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow Centre for Population Health, the University of Cambridge, Queen’s University Belfast, and the University of East London.

The £1.5 million project is being funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR).

Community-led organisations in and around Bournemouth, Glasgow, Belfast, and East London, will take part in the project, Common Health Assets, to better understand how to improve people’s lives and help drive positive change.

BU Professor Sam Porter said, “As a nurse and sociologist, this research is really important to me because I appreciate the importance of our interactions with others for our health and wellbeing.

“By studying the ways that different community-led groups operate, we will be able to understand the ways that these things work, better than we do now, and apply the learning to other places.

“Since the pandemic we have seen a real need and drive for more community focused health initiatives to improve wellbeing, both mentally and physically.