Partnership type: Research and community-based organisational development programme

The health and social care sector has become increasingly engaged in forming networks and “social movements” to help drive change, especially in issues tied to lifestyle factors, social connection and person-centred, holistic care.

The Social Movements for Health Programme, funded by Nesta and Dunhill Medical Trust, will support up to 7 emerging initiatives designed to grow the influence and impact of social movements promoting greater health and well-being. It will do this through tailored funding, movement skill-building opportunities and connection to a learning community of peers and experts. The programme will run for 12 months from April 2019, followed by a period of evaluation.

We are delighted to be working with the Nesta Health Lab to fund, design and deliver this programme of activity which seeks to understand how community-based organizations, in particular, those working in the area of “people powered health”, influence positive real change – and what constitutes good help for them to do so. 

This programme will:

Support the growth of a small number of early-stage social movements impacting people-powered health. Forms of support will be developed with people in social movements and could involve a combination of funding, coaching, peer support, and expert input. Research suggests that social movements can benefit from a protective environment which shields them from initial resistance and external forces, followed by activities to nurture and empower them, as well as access to an ecosystem of peers.

Contribute to the evidence base on social movements by testing the value, feasibility and potential impact of a social movement programme. We expect to learn more about what support social movements need and how organisations such as Nesta and Dunhill can best support them. A research and learning agenda will underpin the programme, shedding light on where value is, and could be, created.

Develop an approach to funding UK social movements: Traditional funding models are not always compatible with the resource needs and informal structures of social movements. This programme seeks to develop new funding and resourcing models.

Create new networks of social movement leaders and funding partners as an engagement platform for continued mobilisation. The programme will draw on the convening power of Nesta and Dunhill Medical Trust to provide opportunity for social movement groups to become ‘more than the sum of their parts.’ 



Apply to join the programme

More information

Nesta’s 2016 report “The power of people in movements”