Clusters of community business at a hyperlocal level make places more resilient

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What does the Hyperlocal data tell us about community businesses' impact on local people?
19 Feb, 2024
Chloe Nelson

Chloe Nelson

Insight Manager

A couple of months ago, we published the final report from our groundbreaking Community Life Survey Hyperlocal Booster research. This report shares the findings from when we asked Verian Group to conduct boosted samples of the Community Life Survey in the hyperlocal areas that had received funding through our Empowering Places programme in 2018, 2020, and 2022. 

The results from this research showed that clusters of community businesses, when given the right type of funding, create more resilient places for people to live and work. The research used a ‘difference-in-difference’ methodology to conduct analysis. This statistical technique estimates change over time in the areas we supported, compared with changes seen in similar areas not involved in the programme. It is a robust way of understanding whether our funding has impacted local areas over the long-term. It ultimately showed that residents who live in the areas with high concentrations of community businesses supported through Empowering Places experienced greater resilience and less adverse impact on their wellbeing than people living in other similar areas. 

The findings show that although the Empowering Places areas mostly saw decreases in wellbeing between 2020 and 2022, this was to a lesser extent than in the comparison areas, which experienced consistent and large decreases between 2018 and 2022. The breadth and strength of the evidence, and the consistency in these trends, means we can reasonably conclude that clusters of community businesses at a hyperlocal level are likely to have contributed to increasing resilience and wellbeing in the Empowering Places areas in this period. 

 For example, in Braunstone in Leicester, there were statistically significant net positive increases in life satisfaction, happiness, and fulfilment between 2018 and 2022, against the comparison area. The chart shows that in the comparison area for Braunstone, people started off with much higher levels of wellbeing. However, by 2022 this had fallen far below levels seen in Braunstone. This means that people in Braunstone were supported to maintain their wellbeing during a time at which it was consistently declining elsewhere. 



Analysis also showed statistically significant positive findings for low levels of anxiety in Braunstone, showing a 5.9 percentage point relative increase in the proportion of Braunstone residents reporting low anxiety, relative to the comparison area. 

These findings are replicated in the analysis across other areas. This means that there is strong evidence to indicate that the efforts of the community businesses have enabled communities to maintain better personal wellbeing during a time in which this was severely affected across the country by the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath 

Bringing these community businesses to fruition, it really does make a massive impact, because it’s really having an impact on people’s mental health. The fact that people are able to come to a group, and otherwise they’ll just be isolated at home, or they’ll be lonely or they wouldn’t have that opportunity.’
– Community Business supported through Empowering Places