Hyperlocal 2023: the transformative power of long-term investment in community business

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Our Insight Manager discusses findings from our new Hyperlocal report, highlighting the importance of investing in community business for lasting change.
20 Nov, 2023
Chloe Nelson

Chloe Nelson

Insight Manager

Yesterday we launched our groundbreaking Community Life Survey Hyperlocal Booster Report 

We invested in this innovative evaluation approach in 2018, with a view to conducting three waves of boosted samples of the Community Life Survey in six hyperlocal places that make up our Empowering Places programme. We commissioned Kantar Public1 to carry out the research and undertake a ‘difference-in-difference’ analysis of the results. This statistical technique estimates change over time in the areas we supported, compared with changes seen in similar areas not involved in the programme. 

The results show that the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent economic challenges have had a significant impact on people’s health and wellbeing, employment and volunteering opportunities, as well as their perspectives on their local areas. However, the difference-in-difference analysis of the hyperlocal booster version of the Community Life Survey shows that between 2018 and 2022, residents in places supported by Power to Change’s Empowering Places programme experienced greater resilience and less adverse impact on their wellbeing compared to similar areas across the country.  

For example, in Nunsthorpe and Bradley Park in Grimsby, there were statistically significant net positive increases in life satisfaction, happiness, and fulfilment. The data shows that residents in the matched comparison groups started with higher wellbeing, but experienced a sustained decrease across all measures between 2018 and 2022. In comparison, residents in Nunsthorpe and Bradley Park said that their wellbeing stayed largely consistent during the same time period, including in the aftermath of the pandemic and its subsequent challenges. This means that people experienced net positive impacts of: 


  • 14% in life satisfaction 
  • 7% in happiness 
  • 12% in fulfilment 
Table 2.2: Wellbeing in Bradley Park, Grimsby 
  2018 2020 2022 DID
Life satisfaction 53.6% 66.8% 57.9% 59.3% 54.8% 53.8% 14.1%
Happiness 58.0% 63.6% 57.8% 60.2% 56.5% 55.0% 7.1%
Fulfilment 55.9% 68.2% 62.4% 64.6% 58.2% 58.5% 12.0%

These trends are replicated across multiple areas. The strength of this robust difference-in-difference methodology means we can reasonably conclude that community businesses, at the hyperlocal level, are likely to have contributed to this increased resilience and wellbeing. This was enabled by the funding we provided through Empowering Places. 

This exciting analysis demonstrates how long-term investment in community business, delivered in the right way, can achieve real and lasting change for local people. 

In future blogs, we’ll explore these findings in more depth. Until then, we encourage you to read this compelling new report.