The Health Foundation has selected four partnerships from across the UK to take part in its new £2.1m programme to support local action on initiatives that can boost local economies and improve health. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the strong links between the economy and health. It has not been a ‘great leveller’, but rather has had an unequal impact on our already unequal society. The recovery from the pandemic and the government’s intention to ‘level up’ local areas of the UK presents an opportunity to strengthen local economies and address health inequalities.  

The Economies for Healthier Lives programme is providing a total of £2.1m to support four partnerships, each led by a local authority or at city regional level, with funding of up to £500k over the next three years. The partnerships will be supported to integrate economic development activity with work to improve health and reduce health inequalities in their areas. The RSA will provide learning support for each of the projects and Renaisi will act as an independent evaluator at a programme level. 

The programme aims to show how to improve the capacity and capability of economic development and public health professionals to work together. Each partnership will be led by the local authority involving organisations including academics, practitioners, business and the community. 

Economies for Healthier Lives is supporting a range of activities examining how local economies can improve health and health inequalities. The programme will explore how employers, skills development strategies, labour market interventions and anchor institutions can improve the health and wellbeing of communities who experience health inequalities. The programme sites are spread across the UK in diverse settings from coastal communities to urbanised areas in cities and city regions.  

The four projects are: 

Sharlene McGee, Policy Manager at the Health Foundation said:

'As we seek to rebuild the economy post-pandemic and ‘level up’ UK regions, there is an opportunity to create more inclusive economies geared towards reducing inequalities and improving health. These innovative projects will show how joint action across economics and health can help our communities to thrive. Economies for Healthier Lives will provide valuable evidence for local authorities and central government, to help inform how local areas across the UK can take steps to ‘level up’ their health and economies.'

Contact at the Health Foundation

Bryony Hirsch 
Marketing and Communications Manager
020 7257 2069

Further reading


Economies for Healthier Lives


A new funding programme to strengthen relationships between economic development and health


Introducing Economies for Healthier Lives

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