Measuring the impact of community businesses at a neighbourhood level

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Power to Change commissioned Kantar in 2020 to conduct a ‘hyperlocal’ version of the national Community Life Survey (CLS) in six operational areas centred around the ‘catalyst organisations’ that form its Empowering Places programme.

Power to Change commissioned Kantar in 2020 to conduct a ‘hyperlocal’ version of the national Community Life Survey (CLS) in six operational areas centred around the ‘catalyst organisations’ that form its Empowering Places programme. Each area contains an average of just over 5,000 households. The ‘hyperlocal’ design builds on studies carried out in 2017, 2018 and 2019 which established a new way of measuring the social impact of such organisations on their local community (Willis et al., 2017; Crawshaw et al., 2019; Crawshaw et al., 2020). In summary, these studies found that working within the CLS framework provided a cost-effective approach to measuring relative community cohesion and levels of social action in each catalyst’s operational area.

The six areas (and catalyst organisations) included in the 2020 research were: Devonport and Stonehouse in Plymouth (Real Ideas Organisation (RIO)), Braunstone in Leicester (B-inspired), Manningham in Bradford (Action for Business), Nunsthorpe and Bradley Park in Grimsby (Centre4), Wigan (Abram Ward Community Cooperative) and Hartlepool (The Wharton Trust).

In each of these areas, similar baseline surveys had previously been conducted in 2018. In each survey area, key outcome metrics were compared over time between 2018 and 2020 using a ‘difference-in-difference’ approach, a statistical technique which estimates the change over time in the operational areas minus the change over time in a set of matched comparison areas. This provides an indication of the relative impact of the Empowering Places programme in each area.

Read the technical appendices here.