Strengthening Communities

The Essex Local Delivery Pilot

Building healthier, more active communities across the county.

Active Essex is proud to lead the work of the Local Delivery Pilot (LDP), using test and learn innovative approaches to increase physical activity levels further in the most disadvantaged areas of Essex. 1 in 4 people in Essex are inactive, which rises to as much as 1 in 2 in our least affluent communities.

Led by Active Essex, the Essex Local Delivery Pilot (ELDP) aims to build healthier, more active communities across the county. An active lifestyle creates huge benefits for the health and wellbeing of individuals and families, as well as making local communities more vibrant, connected, and resilient.

In the past year, the ELDP has been able to scale up test and learn projects such as Essex Pedal Power and ParkPlay, benefitting even more residents living in our most deprived communities. Evaluating the impact of the Prevention and Enablement Model has provided fundamental findings and key recommendations around system-led opportunities, workforce and the hardwiring of physical activity to help improve the lives of people living with disabilities and/or long-term health conditions. It has also become clear that utilising a whole system approach on a number of projects, will help to shape future work.

Microgrant projects funded since 2017
Essex-wide LDP projects completed to date
LDP investment proposals since 2017

Essex LDP Ways of Working

Place-based Working

Since 2019, a proactive approach has been taken by ELDP to understand ABCD and use it to underpin our work, and so far there have been a number of positive outcomes. If leadership can be distributed to the local community, then they will take responsibility and ownership of creating opportunities to reduce physical inactivity. They have the local experience, meaning they understand the needs and wants of their local community.

practitioners and system leaders trained on ABCD
individuals attended ABCD guide training
Strengthening Communities

Asset Based Community Development

Supporting local communities to become more cohesive, resilient and stronger


Hardwiring Physical Activity into System Settings

Criminal justice is one of the sectors that ELDP has worked within and has since gained a place on the Essex Violence & Vulnerability Board. More recently, investment into a 3-year pan-Essex project will continue to help influence the youth justice sector, and in addition to this, the ELDP has positioned itself well within the health sector, working proactively with stakeholders such as Public Health Essex and Essex Adult Social Care.

Strengthening Communities

The Sport and Youth Crime Prevention Project

Using physical activity and sport to prevent anti-social behaviour

Active Essex Foundation

Realist Evaluation

At the start of the year, a journey began with a new evaluation partner, taking a collaborative approach to evaluation that utilises realist methodology. Initial assumptions and beliefs have now been developed and the ELDP is in the process of testing them. By taking the approach of embedding researchers within the Active Essex team, has created a culture of evaluation and learning, to show that evaluation is 'everyone’s business'.

Social Return on Investment

The Social Return on Investment represents a complimentary method to the realist evaluation. The evaluation and SROI activities have been streamlined together to ensure coherence between the two pieces of work.

Over the past year, the importance of data and insight, particularly within the ELDP has become more prevalent, to help develop our learning and understanding of what works in local communities. A number of deep dives and evaluation reports have been constructed to outline successes, learnings and challenges, to help conduct sufficient evidence for potential scale and replication.

Projects that have been evaluated are:

  • Find Your Active
  • Essex ActivAte
  • Asset Based Community Development
  • Essex Pedal Power
  • Prevention and Enablement Model (PEM)
  • The Microgrants Programme

Find Your Active

Developments of the Essex behaviour change campaign

Find Your Active 1
Children and Young People

Essex ActivAte

The holiday and food programme for children and young people who are eligible for benefits based fre...

Essex Activ Ate
Active Environments

Essex Pedal Power

Making cycling accessible in our most deprived communities

Essex Pedal Power
Levelling Up Health and Wellbeing

Prevention and Enablement Model

A test and learn initiative to improve the lives of people living with disabilities and/or long-term...

Strengthening Communities

LDP Microgrants Programme

A small grants programme to help local communities get active

total amount of funding to LDP projects from April 2020-March 2023
leveraged funding for LDP projects from April 2020-March 2023

There is now clear evidence of the positive impact the ELDP has had on sectors such as adult social care, transport, health, and communities. Independent evaluation by Collaborate CIC has shown clear progress in the three test areas of Basildon, Colchester, and Tendring, showing a multitude of partners are now prioritising physical activity to achieve their plans and outcomes, and that Asset Based Community Development is now embedded into the work of the three areas.

Our three pilot test areas are Basildon, Colchester and Tendring. Please find our hyperlocal project case studies below to find out more about our community work:

Strengthening Communities


Supporting refugees and asylum seekers in Basildon

Care4 Calais
Levelling Up Health and Wellbeing


An accessible pool lift to enable residents with a disability or mobility issue to access the swimmi...

Pool Pd
Active Environments

Mobile Skate Park

Free and accessible wheel-based sports for young people, helping to combat anti-social behaviour by ...

London Marathon Foundation
Children and Young People


A safe place for young people, to increase participation in physical activity and focus on positive ...

Project ME
Levelling Up Health and Wellbeing

Blossome Sunrise Dips

Cold water swimming to improve physical and mental wellbeing

Microsoft Teams image 13
Strengthening Communities

Over 50's Ballet

After listening to community needs, it was identified ballet was an activity residents wanted to try

Ballet Bar

As the ELDP transitions from testing to replicating and scaling up the approaches, from the programmes that have worked, rich learning will be taken from the three test areas to other deprived places across Essex, including the levelling up areas of Castle Point, Harlow, and Braintree, and the unitary authorities of Southend and Thurrock. The ELDP will also play a key role in supporting Sport England with the national roll out of their new £250m place based expansion programme, shaped by the learnings of the 12 LDPs.