Shaping Places for Healthier Lives

The Health Foundation and Local Government Association have launched a new grant programme – Shaping Places for Healthier Lives. The programme aims to create the conditions for better health by funding local partnerships to take system-wide action on the wider determinants of health.

This new grant programme will support local cross-sector partnership action to create the conditions for better health at a local level.

The objectives are to:

  • mobilise cross-sector action through sustainable system change at a local level
  • support local authorities to facilitate and enable local partnerships for system change
  • learn how to make changes that impact on the wider determinants of health so that learning can be shared

As a result of this programme five projects will be funded to make sustainable changes to local systems, which are consistent with improved population health, and designed to last beyond the lifetime of the programme. Learning will be captured to allow these approaches to be applied in other areas and to wider health-related issues.


The Marmot Review, Fair Society, Healthy Lives’ released in 2010, built on years of research and experience. The review made a firm case to government that reduction in health inequalities requires action across all the wider determinants of health.  It was also clear that action must be across all aspects of government and in partnership with other sectors. 

The transition of public health responsibilities, budgets and teams from the NHS to local authorities in 2013 enabled the debate about health, outside of healthcare settings, to develop. Debate and action now extends across multiple functions of local government such as strengthening communities, early years’ services, as well as economic and social regeneration.

People’s health is strongly determined by the social, economic, commercial and environmental conditions of where they are born, grow, live, work and age. These ‘wider determinants’ of health have complex interrelationships and influences on the health and wellbeing of populations in a particular place. This programme will explore how coordinated system-wide action across the wider determinants of health can shape a place to help people to live healthier lives.

The programme

The Shaping Places for Healthier Lives Programme is now closed for expressions of interest.

The application process has several stages, during which applicants will receive support to develop their proposals. 

Following an expression of interest and submission of a further developed proposal, 12 applicants will be supported with a development grant of up to £20,000 plus expert advice. This will enable councils to fully develop their final proposal through system mapping, developing a theory of change and building local partnerships. Final awards will be awarded to five selected proposals, up to a total of £300k over three years. Match funding will not be requested but can be included.

Please email us at to join our learning network to be kept up to date with the programme.

Example projects

Below are examples of the approach sought as applied to fuel poverty and social isolation. One additional example is available in the prospectus.

Fuel poverty: A household is considered to be fuel poor if they have required fuel costs that are above average and, were they to spend that amount, they would be left with a residual income below the official poverty line. There is compelling evidence that the drivers of fuel poverty (low income, poor energy efficiency, and energy prices) are strongly linked to cold homes. Evidence shows that living in cold homes is associated with poor health outcomes and an increased risk of morbidity and mortality for all age groups; furthermore, studies have shown that more than one in five excess winter deaths in England and Wales are attributable to the coldest quarter of housing.

An applicant would demonstrate understanding of how a wider system operates in their borough to produce the recorded level of fuel poverty for the population. They would then go on to demonstrate an understanding of where and how to intervene in that system to achieve a change in one or more system drivers and ultimately a change in the level of fuel poverty.

Social isolation: Social Isolation, in the Public Health Outcomes Framework Wider Determinants indicator set is defined as the percentage of adult social care users who have as much social contact as they would like.

There is clear link between loneliness and poor mental and physical health. A key element of the Government's vision for social care is to tackle loneliness and social isolation, supporting people to remain connected to their communities and to develop and maintain connections to their friends and family. An applicant choosing to work on this indicator would be able to demonstrate understanding of the level and distribution of social isolation, as defined above, across their borough’s population. They would demonstrate an understanding of how that distribution has arisen and the systemic and wider determinants of that distribution. They would show that they know where and how to intervene in that system to change how it functions and so achieve a reduction in social isolation.