Healthy communities together

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Our strategy for 2020–24 signals a renewed emphasis on collaborating with partners, including the voluntary and community sector.

Healthy communities together is a major new programme to support local areas to improve their communities’ health and wellbeing. 

What we're doing

Working in partnership, The King’s Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund will support up to six local areas for up to four years, helping to develop more effective partnerships between voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations and the NHS and local authorities in their area.

The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the United Kingdom, will provide substantial grant funding to build capacity and enable areas to invest in new approaches and new ways of working in partnership.

The King's Fund will provide bespoke support to each area, such as facilitating work across the local health system, providing evidence of how best to integrate care and support in a place, and challenging organisations to think differently. The King’s Fund will also distil learning from the areas taking part and share it more widely. 

Why we're doing this

Charities make a significant contribution to the health of local communities by offering advice and support to people with long-term conditions, helping people to avoid illness, and working with marginalised groups that health and care services can struggle to reach.

Both the NHS five year forward view and the NHS long term plan called for the VCS and communities to be at the heart of efforts to improve health. But making that a reality is hard to do in the context of day-to-day pressure, structural change, complexity and uncertainty.

Many VCS organisations are thinly stretched and unable to dedicate time to sharing their knowledge of the community in order to shape local health and care plans. Many charities also face difficulties navigating complex NHS and local authority contracting rules and the financial challenge of chasing short-term funding from national and local government.

The Healthy communities together programme will give charities the financial breathing space needed to develop partnerships with the NHS and local authorities in their area, while supporting health and care organisations to better understand and collaborate with the voluntary sector. 


Applications for Healthy communities together are due to open in spring 2020, and the pilot areas will start work later in the year. The programme is open to applications from groups of VCS and public sector organisations working together in a local area in England and is designed to target areas experiencing the most disadvantage.

For more information

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