What makes effective place-based working?

Sharon Telfer

This paper, based on two independent reviews of JRF’s work in Bradford, highlights the challenges for charitable funders and other organisations considering ‘place-based’ work.

What learning is there from JRF’s place-based work in Bradford?

Place-based work should have clear aims and involve local stakeholders in programme design.

This paper, based on two independent reviews of JRF’s work in Bradford, highlights the challenges for charitable funders and other organisations considering ‘place-based’ work.

The findings show JRF worked best when creating the conditions for impact rather than having a direct impact on the city itself:

  • strengthening local partnerships;
  • providing safe spaces for debate;
  • acting as a critical friend;
  • strengthening evidence;
  • giving previously unheard groups a voice; and
  • increasing understanding of local communities.

Key lessons for place-based work were:

  • Be strategic and clear about the programme’s purpose.
  • Involve local stakeholders in the design of the programme and its projects.
  • Translate research into practical action.
  • Work with broad networks and partners.
  • Communicate frequently, both throughout projects and in disseminating findings.
  • Stick with projects rather than continually moving on to new work.
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