Shaping Places for Healthier Lives

The Health Foundation and Local Government Association launched a new grant programme in 2020 called Shaping Places for Healthier Lives. The programme application process, the background about the programme and supporting materials for councils can be found here.

The Shaping Places for Healthier Lives Programme is currently in the final stage of a three-stage application process. Applications are now closed for new projects.

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.

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



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 (The need for a complex systems model of evidence for public health, The Lancet, paywall) 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

Fourteen councils have been selected for stage three of the application process, they are being supported with a development grant of up to £20,000 plus expert advice enabling them 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 later this year, up to a total of £300,000 over three years.

The 14 councils are:

London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, London Borough of Bexley, Bristol City Council, Darlington Borough Council, Doncaster Council, East Sussex County Council, Newham Council, North Lincolnshire Council, Northumberland County Council, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, Sefton Council Shropshire Council and Suffolk County Council.

Our delivery support partner, the Design Council, has written a blog about the approaches taken within the stage 2 application and the challenges and opportunities that have been highlighted by councils and their project teams.