Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Shifting the Power: A partnership between Impact on Urban Health and Wellcome Trust

Service Designer / Creative Practitioner

We are looking for a team or agency that can take a multidisciplinary approach to testing the feasibility for a community-led advisory group.


Research and development

Closing date

03 December 2021


Health is determined by more than just healthcare or lifestyle choices. It is shaped by many different social, economic and environmental factors experienced over our lifetimes. These different factors depend on the communities we are part of, where we work and where we live.

Conditions for one group of people being different to others often leads to very different, often unequal, experiences of health and health outcomes.

Health inequalities are avoidable if we improve the conditions in which people live and enable people to participate in the decision-making processes that affect their health. To do so, we must address the norms, policies, agendas and other systems that produce and perpetuate these conditions. This means we must work to rebalance the distribution of power, money and resources, giving a greater share and participation to those experiencing health inequalities.

The partnership

Impact on Urban Health and Wellcome Trust have launched an ambitious partnership that will explore how community-centred research and funding models can help address health inequalities in our boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark, and beyond.

As funders, we have access to power, money and resources including knowledge, expertise and connections. We want to use these resources to create opportunities for the people who experience health inequalities to take power over the structures and systems that influence their health. We want to test ways to use our resources to shift power to serve them.

Over the next three years, the partnership will make £3 million available for projects that aim to improve health outcomes by transforming the ways in which the public is engage in health research.

The partnership will explore three ways to help us deliver on our ambitions:

  • Fund and catalyse: How can we develop and spread funding models that recognise and address power imbalances?
  • Create research: How can we provide opportunities for people experiencing health inequalities in our place to set, shape and lead research agendas on health issues they care about?
  • Power to people: How can we use our resources in ways that support and sustain communities to build their capacity?


Through the partnership we will fund and commission projects which deliver on these aims. To date this includes:

  • The Giving Lab: A Citizen-led funding model, placing power in the hands of community members to make funding decisions relating to housing, employment and financial health
  • Centric: A community-led research model which provides training on research and the development of research partnerships.

The opportunity

We want to create the right conditions for communities in Lambeth and Southwark to be able to play an active role in shaping the way decisions are made about the health issues that most affect them. To make sure we use our resources in the most efficient way that has a long-term impact, we must first understand people’s experiences of health and be able to respond to these insights. We want to explore how a community advisory group can provide insights that shape the ways funding decisions are reached. We believe that doing this will result in better and more effective use of funding to improve long-term health for communities.

Building community insights into the partnership will:

  1. Build trust between communities and funders through deep listening and taking action
  2. Capture insights into people’s experiences of health inequities that we can respond to
  3. Ideate project and programme opportunities that can be funded through the partnership
  4. Create accountability by making our funding and decision-making processes more transparent.

This is an ambitious programme of work that needs to be led and shaped by voices who are closer to the communities involved. At the first stage, we would like to work with a creative practitioner or service design agency to explore the feasibility of establishing a community advisory group.

We want to engage community stakeholders to contribute to all aspects of the work by asking for their feedback on the partnership. We also want to understand whether there is appetite for this type of engagement and learn whether it is an appealing offer that people in communities would like to contribute time and energy towards shaping and participating in. We believe that by taking a user-research approach we will be able to work responsively towards ensuring community insight is front and centre of funding decisions.


  1. Test partnership plans with community stakeholders and gather feedback
  2. Engage community stakeholders to find out whether participating in an advisory capacity is an attractive offer
  3. Broaden our understanding of the ways in which community stakeholders want to be represented within partnerships such as this one
  4. Build an evidence base and gather insights into community needs that could then help to influence the design and implementation of a community advisory group, or other advisory model.

Brief specification: What we’re looking for

We want to work with a team or agency that can take a multidisciplinary approach to testing the feasibility for a community-led advisory group.

The team will work creatively using a combination of ethnography, desk-based research, service-design and other socially engaged creative practices. This brief may suit a collaboration between an artist and service-designer, or a service-design agency with a highly creative practice.

We are looking for a team who can confidently connect with communities in Lambeth and Southwark and who can convene a range of cultural and community perspectives.

You will have excellent understanding of health and social issues and be able to engage potential participants through practice that is both creative and collaborative. You may have established and trusted relationships with communities in Lambeth and Southwark or be working with associates who hold these stakeholder relationships.

The social context of the partnership is complex and fast-moving, and the team will be expected to take an anti-racist and anti-ableist approach. We particularly welcome applications from Black and minoritized communities-led teams and agencies.

We expect the team to work in two phases:

Phase one – Understanding need

  1. Quickly get up to speed with the partnership objectives and our portfolio of funded projects
  2. Conduct research into what works, looking further afield at other sectors to uncover examples of participatory advisory models
  3. Develop an ethnographic approach to understanding community priorities in Lambeth and Southwark
  4. Engage community groups already known to us and create links with new community stakeholders.

Phase two – Engaging community-stakeholders

  1. Develop and deliver an approach to testing the partnership priorities with community stakeholders
  2. Develop and deliver an approach to gathering insights into ways in which community stakeholders would like to act as advisors
  3. Explore ways of building a discourse with academics and researchers who want to work with communities in an equitable way
  4. Report findings with recommendations for potential advisory models.

There is a possible later stage to this work, where the agency would lead the onboarding of an inclusive cohort of community, academic and research sector representatives, to participate in designing an inclusive advisory group for the partnership. Insight from these initial phases would inform the objectives of phase three.


£40,000 inc. VAT

Response format

  1. Your experience
    1. Include your project team, project lead and the point of contact
    2. List any relevant projects and show examples
  2. Response to context and challenge
  3. Draft outline of approach/methodology
  4. Suggest an evaluation/measurement approach to test against objectives
  5. Budget breakdown and timeline.
Gabrielle Allen


Applicants should submit a maximum 2-page proposal, along with CVs of themselves and their team to Gabrielle Allen, our Portfolio Manager.

Contact Gabrielle