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Our work
Our work

Spreading good practice from the Healthy New Towns programme

We worked on behalf of NHS England to spread learning and good practice from the Healthy New Towns programme. We successfully brought together groups of people from a wide range of sectors with different cultures, priorities and working practices who do not ordinarily meet or work with one another.

The challenge

NHS England wanted to spread learning and good practice from the Healthy New Towns programme and its 10 demonstrator sites. These have been working to accelerate the delivery of new models of integrated care alongside the reshaping of planning decisions to encourage better environments for health and wellbeing.

We needed to:

  • identify areas of high planned housing growth with the scope and enthusiasm to create healthy places
  • identify and engage key local stakeholders and networks from across health, local government, the built environment and community sectors with the scope to act on Healthy New Towns learning and innovation
  • design and facilitate interactive events to showcase learning from the 10 demonstrator sites and translate that into local problem solving, supporting local networks and systems to implement and adopt key learning in the future design of healthier new places.

Our approach

Kaleidoscope worked in partnership with the King’s Fund, the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) and the Young Foundation, to identify and support six areas of high planned housing growth around England in their efforts to co-create their own healthy new place. We brought together key local stakeholders to develop their own plans for putting into practice the learning from the programme over a series of 17 face-to-face and digital events.

Selecting the six areas

We worked with our partners to use their expertise and networks to create a long list of more than 70 potential areas of the country with high housing growth.

This was followed by desk research and contact with contact with relevant local stakeholders in the NHS, local authorities, housing developers, and local voluntary sector and community groups. From this, we identified a final six sites who had:

  • commitment to local partnership working across health, planning and housing developers to design and deliver a healthier new place
  • the ability and commitment to invest the necessary time and resources to take part in our full events series.

In the planning phase, we conducted semi-structured, qualitative interviews with a range of stakeholders from the six sites. These were a mixture of key informants from local authorities (planning, public health, transport, etc), property developers, health organisations and the voluntary and community sector.

We used data from these interviews to draw conclusions about local contexts. These were used to ensure that each event (designed to disseminate and apply learning from NHS England’s Putting Health into Place) was locally relevant and to map key local stakeholders.

We used data visualisation techniques to construct a ‘site map’ for each area from the interview data . These mapped where each site was against the 10 ‘Healthy New Town Principles’, and highlighted local challenges and strengths, with questions for the local stakeholders to consider, focusing on areas they could develop further in relation to the built environment, community engagement, and health and care.

Kaleidoscope successfully delivered a complex series of events with participants from a wide range of sectors to spread learning from the Healthy New Towns programme.

– Luke Hunka, Strategy Adviser, NHS England and NHS Improvement

Learning events

Kaleidoscope designed, delivered and facilitated a programme of learning events – two face-to-face events in each area and five digital events. The main aim of these was to provide support that would give each site a head-start in healthy placemaking using the Healthy New Town principles.

Three of the digital events outlined ‘Putting Health into Place’ – which sets out NHS England’s learning from the programme – and focussed on common areas of interest or challenge across all of the sites, including the future of primary care, NHS estates planning and working in complex systems. A further two digital events were open to all those interested in healthy place making.

The face-to-face events focused on interaction – helping partners to establish local networks and the vital collaboration between the NHS, local government, developers and community groups. We also aimed to build collective understanding and idenitfy local priorities and commitments to take forward beyond this programme of support.


The events successfully brought together groups of people from a wide range of sectors with different cultures, priorities and working practices who do not ordinarily meet or work with one another. In a short time they managed to bridge some of those differences, identify common goals and agree actions to make real differences for local people. The events created energy for change and a set of realistic commitments that will help to maintain the work for change.

More than 200 people attended the face-to-face events from a broad range of roles across health, local authorities, the built environment, the community and voluntary sectors and beyond. Some 95% said they would recommend events of that type to colleagues. Participants also praised the events as constructive, engaging, relevant, well run and focused, with a great mix of stakeholders. The digital events were watched live by nearly 900 people.

During the events, each site identified and collectively prioritised up to five themes they want to focus on in the next 12 months. These themes will help them progress their vision of a healthy new place – they range from supporting people and communities to take an active role in their own health, to embedding health in the planning process.

Based on the themes they prioritised, we took the sites through a logic modelling process to identify the high level impact and outcomes they want to achieve and how they will do this.

We provided a final outline of the logic model for each site, alongside synthesis of the events discussions. These will act as a map of their emerging theory of change that they can use in their programme management and planning.

Kaleidoscope’s ability to design and deliver innovative events to engage stakeholders and resolve local issues was crucial to the success of the programme.

– Luke Hunka, Strategy Adviser, NHS England and NHS Improvement


All the sites identified specific actions to take following this series of events. These include:

  • agreement in each of the sites to carry on meeting and establish more formalised governance arrangements to support the development of a healthy new place and to hold one another to account for delivery of agreed plans
  • sharing and mapping of stakeholder engagement undertaken or planned by each of the partners – pooling information, understanding gaps such as engagement of young people and agreeing joint activity and resources going forward to create a positive relationship with the local community which can be translated into the development
  • engaging an academic partner to support ongoing evaluation of the project and organisational development support for the local Healthy Place making partnership
  • creation and agreement across partners of a ‘healthy planning checklist’ explicitly incorporating the 10 Healthy New Town principles to help influence plans and designs.

Our work