Transformation Partners in Health and Care > News > Community Chest model highlighted in Department of Health and Social Care policy paper – Accelerating reform in adult social care in England: priorities for innovation and scaling

Community Chest model highlighted in Department of Health and Social Care policy paper – Accelerating reform in adult social care in England: priorities for innovation and scaling

Bylan Shah, Deputy Director of Transformation

Making Positive change within local communities

“The most important things about our rides, other than getting women on bikes, is bringing communities together. We had women from all communities, Muslim, Sikh, LGBTQ+, Roma, Black, Christian on our rides, who formed connections and friendships across the communities they belong to.”
 Waltham Forest Joy Riders project

In October, I was delighted to see Waltham Forest’s Community Chest featured in a new policy paper from the Department of Health and Social Care. The paper referenced two of their twelve funded projects. The Disability Resource Centre, who are running a project called ‘Belonging’, an art and creative writing project for disabled adults and adults with learning disabilities. As well as Forest Churches Emergency Night Shelter, who currently run a drop-in centre for homeless people and will launch a summer project which will involve staff and some service users getting training in co-production. The 12 community chest projects funded across Waltham Forest have seen almost 1000 residents access activities.

Waltham Forest is a fantastic example of how the Community Chest model brings together resources to create an accessible, local funding pot for the voluntary and community sector to deliver local activities that improve the health and wellbeing of the communities they serve. There is a needs-led approach at the core of this work, ensuring that projects can serve communities by building on local assets and infrastructure, using shared investments to address health inequalities and build resilience.

Locally designed projects to reach unmet needs of residents

Since their development in 2022, we have seen some incredible initiatives funded to support local communities across the seven boroughs in North East London. The outcomes that are starting to emerge from each of the community chest approaches demonstrate the positive ripple effect that this type of commitment to partnership working can have. Focussing on a needs-led approach to commissioning to address unmet needs of that individual community.

Although every Community Chest takes a slightly different approach, the main goal remains the same – to improve the prevention of ill-health. We are happy to say that many of the boroughs in North East London, including Waltham Forest, have secured additional funding to continue their community chest approaches. We are working with other partners across London to spread and scale the Community Chest.

A continued commitment to create sustainable bottom-up change  

Professor Kevin Fenton, OHID London Regional Director says “I have closely followed the Community Chest work and am delighted to see these funding pots making a real difference to communities. Working to improve the health and wellbeing of residents whilst simultaneously connecting different groups, who may not have had the chance or opportunity to interact together before. I look forward to seeing what’s next for the Community Chest model

The October 2023 DHSC policy paper highlights the importance of working with the local system to enhance the social prescribing offer and drive investment into the VCFSE sector. This in turn benefits the whole system by enabling richer partnership working and creating sustainable initiatives that address the local and hyper local priorities of communities. Improving access to services and bridging gaps of unmet needs reduces the barriers often faced by under-served communities in accessing health and social care. It remains our ambition to improve prevention of ill health, develop more resilient communities and address London’s widening health inequalities.

If you would like further information on any aspect of the Community Chest work, please contact or visit our community chests webpage.