Power to Change has a vision of better places created through community business. The Research Institute seeks to support this vision by commissioning high-quality research, promoting rigorous analysis and stimulating critical scrutiny and debate. In doing so we aim to shape both policy and practice.

Our three core objectives are:

  1. To measure and monitor our own impact, to inform and improve the effectiveness of our funding and programmes.
  2. To work with partners to build a robust evidence base for the social and economic impact of community business.
  3. To share the evidence we collect with wider stakeholders and make the case for greater investment in community business.

Our impact

We are already evaluating the impact of our first funding programmes, both project by project and as part of assessing our overall impact as an organisation. Find out more about our impact.

A call centre has been created at spacious places

Our research

Our published work includes our annual survey of the community business market in England. Find our research publications here. 


Research commissions

We have selected three research projects to be funded as part of our first open research call:

New Economics Foundation – Sustainable social care, what role for community business? Read their proposal.

Rural Action Yorkshire and Durham Community Action – research to better understand the size, scale, scope, potential growth and future pipeline of Village Halls as Community Businesses. Read their proposal.

University of Middlesex – The Role of Community Businesses in Providing Health & Wellbeing Services – challenges, opportunities and support needs. Read their proposal.

We have also commissioned a range of new research:

The Institute for Voluntary Action Research will be exploring how community businesses and other similar organisations are accountable to their communities.

NatCen will be studying community businesses in the pubs, housing and transport sectors, to identify common factors for success in each sector.

And, together with the Institute for Voluntary Action Research, we are looking at best practice in place-based funding.

Please contact the Research Institute if you would like to know more about our research programme.


Watch our film about the Research Institute's first publication

The director of the Power to Change  Research Institute, Richard Harries, introduces the findings on the state of the community business market in 2015.

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