This application is driven by recent thinking about the potential for social enterprise to operate between, and in partnership with, traditional private and state sectors in addressing the societal challenge of persistent and widening health inequalities. Such inequalities are compounded by, and related to, continuing high rates of deprivation, unemployment, worklessness and financial exclusion in the poorest communities. Many parts of the UK suffer disproportionately from such challenges. Despite acknowledgement of such relationships, gaps between best and worst off continue to grow. The research proposed here seeks to develop methods aimed at discovering the extent to which social enterprise can remedy this growing disparity. Social enterprises are trading organisations with a social mission, no share ownership, and whose surpluses are directed back towards the mission. Despite a long history in many economies, little is known globally about longer-term impacts of social enterprise on health and well-being. In addressing this knowledge gap, this proposed research would be distinctive through building an original programme around the notion of 'social enterprise as a public health and well-being intervention'. Of note, this programme would go beyond the recent focus on social enterprise simply as an alternative provider of health services; the cutting-edge thinking, here, being that, in addressing many aspects of social vulnerability, almost any social enterprise might claim to act on 'upstream' social determinants of health. The programme proposed would build on three main pillars: theory building and creating conceptual frameworks for evaluating social enterprise in health and well-being terms; applying such frameworks in empirical studies, particularly those of a longitudinal mixed-method nature, embodying quantitative and qualitative methods, permitting as rigorous an attribution of outcomes to interventions as possible; and addressing issues of generalisability through collaboration with a wide range of the social enterprise sector and creation of a Knowledge Exchange Forum to address relevance across throughout Scotland the rest of the UK.
|Effective start/end date
|31/01/14 → 28/02/19
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