Theory of Change: Powerful Communities, Better Places

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Power to Change’s vision is that by 2025, more communities in England run businesses that give them power to change what matters to them. They create more resilient places that are better to live and work in for everyone.
8 Apr, 2022
Chloe Nelson

Chloe Nelson

Impact and Learning Manager

Power to Change’s vision is that by 2025, more communities in England run businesses that give them power to change what matters to them. They create more resilient places that are better to live and work in for everyone. Our mission is to strengthen community businesses to tackle some of society’s biggest challenges at a local level, including the three biggest challenges of our time: climate change, digital transformation and social inequalities. The launch of our new strategy last year outlined how we will achieve this vision and mission, and the evidence that underpins it.

To accompany our strategy, this week we are launching our new Theory of Change, developed in partnership with Reos Partners following extensive consultation. It sets out the logical framework behind our theory of change, showing our activities, outputs, outcomes, and the long-term change we aim to see as a result. It is underpinned by the values that guide us. We will regularly review and report on our progress in delivering against these ambitions, and testing whether or not our hypotheses are correct or not, via an extensive programme of research, evaluation and learning. In order to achieve the change we want to see, Power to Change will:

  • Connect community businesses to support, resources and ideas to improve resilience and impact
  • Support community businesses directly, including encouraging innovation
  • Improve understanding, including our own, of what community businesses need and their impact
  • Advocate for more community ownership and greater community power

The outcomes we aim to achieve are:

  1. A more diverse, equitable and inclusive sector: In particular, we want to see increased involvement of marginalised groups in the community business sector both in existing community businesses and in starting and running their own community businesses. We want these individuals to be supported and enabled within the sector, and for the sector to benefit everyone.
  2. More impactful and resilient community businesses: We want community businesses to have the support, resilience, and capabilities to weather challenging conditions, such as COVID-19, Brexit, climate change, or even rising inflation. We also want the sector to grow its understanding of what challenges communities are facing and how the sector can help address them.
  3. Growing understanding of and support for community businesses: We want people across England to understand what community businesses are, how they can contribute to addressing societal challenges, and what they need to thrive. We believe that increased understanding will lead to more communities starting community businesses, more resilience in existing community businesses, more support for community businesses, and more positive impact by community businesses.

We know we can’t achieve this alone, but if we are to realise our vision we believe that there are three things that need to happen:

  1. Funding and support for community businesses increases: The many groups and individuals that can contribute to a growing and thriving sector are continually increasing their support for community businesses. This includes investments and grants from investors and funders, connection from infrastructure organisations, partnerships from and with all levels of government, and volunteering, patronage, and other support from community members.
  2. Community businesses realise their full potential contribution to addressing society’s challenges: They are contributing to solutions to both to the challenges experienced by the local communities in which they are based, and the larger challenges faced by our entire society, such as social inequities, climate change, transitioning to net zero, and digital transformation.
  3. The community business sector grows: There are ever-more community businesses, and those businesses have ever-increasing size, scope, and resilience.

We believe that if we focus on these three areas over the next five years, we will create enough momentum to enable continuous growth and impact in the sector. More and more impactful community businesses mean better places to live and work in for everyone.