Communities of Practice

8th September 2016


To facilitate and evaluate the impact of Power to Change’s two community of practice (CoP) programmes, the first working with Peer Networks of community businesses, and the second working with community businesses delivering health and social care services. Both programmes involve exploring the potential of CoPs in providing effective support and capacity building for the community business sector.


Power to Change


Over ten years, with a £150 million endowment from Big Lottery Fund, Power to Change is supporting community businesses to create better places across England. In some of its primary research, it was highlighted that community businesses often secure crucial support from other community businesses in the same sector.

In 2016, Power to Change commissioned Osca to design and implement an evaluation of their peer network programme – a CoP which brought together peer networks of community businesses at different stages of maturation. This programme involves establishing a community of practice of peer networks to better understand good practice in their activities, and to develop resources to increase impact and sustainability for themselves and other networks. This was a two year project involving working closely with Power to Change and the community of practice conveners (Shared Assets and Social Change Agency) in both a theory of change and associated metrics for evaluation.

Based on this work, in 2018 Osca was commissioned to convene and evaluate their new CoP programme, bringing together a range of community businesses active in the delivery of health and social care activities, to explore the potential of the community business model in addressing pressing health and care needs, and some of the associated challenges and opportunities including: commissioning, social impact measurement and sustainability. After evaluation of Phase 1 of the programme in April 2019, all parties were keen for it to continue and Power to Change have approved another 12 months. More information can be found at the health and social care part of the Power to Change website.

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