Poverty Reduction’s Influence On Risk factors for non-communicable diseases: a systems approach.



Poverty Reduction’s Influence On Risk factors for non-communicable diseases: a systems approach (PRIOR) is a project aiming to transform deprived communities in the north of England through interventions that empower individuals to escape debt and poverty, and improve their mental and physical health.

We aim to improve the health of people in disadvantaged communities by reducing poverty and improving the conditions that they live in. We will focus on the link between poverty and ill health, in all ages and in different communities.

We know long-term conditions, such as diabetes and lung disease, are often related to older people and lifestyle, and that people living in more deprived areas are more likely to have these conditions.

Often, programmes attempt to improve health by promoting individual behaviour changes. However, we recognise that without a combination of health, digital and financial knowledge, and access to opportunities in the local area, it can be difficult for people to make positive changes. 


How you can help

Our current partners include universities in the north of England and beyond, as well as local authorities and community organisations. Learn more about our consortium.

We are keen to open up this opportunity to new partners across the region and nationally.

As one of our partners, you could help us to co-produce interventions with communities and link with business using big data techniques.

To find out more, email:



Our research

There are several strands to the research being undertaken by PRIOR.

The project will address three key questions:

  1. How do the range of poverty alleviation strategies and interventions impact on the prevalence of NCDs and mental wellbeing for the most vulnerable in our communities?
  2. How can a multidisciplinary team working together with local strategic implementation teams deliver greater health and social gain?
  3. What interventions and changes to policies are likely to result in significant improvements to the health and mental wellbeing of the most vulnerable in our communities?

Areas of focus

Our approach

To address the above questions in our three focus areas, we will:

  • investigate the current evidence-base to recommend poverty alleviation strategies focusing on health, digital and financial literacy and inclusivity;
  • map current policies and policy impact analyses in relation to poverty alleviation;
  • identify socio-economic and health indicators and understand the relationships between these indicators;
  • understand the complex interactions and unintended consequences of poverty alleviation strategies, and understand what changes can be made to improve the health and wellbeing of communities;
  • co-design education interventions, microgrant and incentivised schemes suitable for local communities, co-financed using a public/private partnership, while obtaining in-depth insights into the key concerns and issues perceived by stakeholders and the public;
  • use routinely collected and qualitative data to assess the baseline health and wellbeing of the control and active communities, and to understand the complex interactions between risk factors and outcomes;
  • undertake a process and economic evaluation to assess impact on health and wellbeing, with a focus on mental health, social cohesion, social capital, public spaces after intervention and evaluate equitable distribution;
  • create an integrated, multidisciplinary consortium with lasting private/public partnerships to ensure scalability, replication and sustainability of schemes.

What we’re doing now

Find out about our activities.


Project background

The Marmot report demonstrated how people from deprived communities have multiple co-morbidities during their working lifetime. The inequalities include a significant reduction in both life expectancy and disability-free life expectancy.

Both the severity and quantity of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are present in those from deprived communities, leading to poorer health outcomes, both mental and physical.

Many studies have demonstrated the impact of socio-economic status on NCD prevention, primary, secondary and tertiary. This includes both mental and physical illnesses, as the vicious cycle of debt leads to poorer mental and physical health. There is increasing food and fuel poverty, which has resulted in rising inequalities within our communities.

Avoidable mortality data from the Office of National Statistics demonstrates more people in the north are dying from NCDs that have an effective healthcare or public health intervention.

UK Prevention Research Partnership Funding

This work was supported by the UK Prevention Research Partnership, an initiative funded by UK Research and Innovation Councils, the Department of Health and Social Care (England) and the UK devolved administrations, and leading health research charities.

The Consortium Development Grant was awarded in 2020 and we have been invited to submit a full consortium application in December 2020, which is to be assessed in April 2021.


Recent policies have focused on identification, stratification and downstream interventions for the individual, which relies on high levels of health, financial and digital literacy.

Upstream policies have been often difficult to implement and enforce despite a strong evidence base. Economic policies focus on macro-economics for the economy, either at local or national level.

There are fewer joined-up schemes that have investigated family affluence and the interventions needed to improve these through socio-economic interventions.

Those most vulnerable to poor health and unemployment have the least access to digital skills. This means that health, financial and digital literacy are important levers in reducing inequalities.

The challenge

The specific challenge is ambitious and focuses on being able to influence whole systems that work in the most deprived communities in Manchester, Doncaster and Cheshire.

PRIOR defines these systems as being led by local authorities, with the NHS and PHE, and the voluntary sector, including charities and the private sector.


Contact us

For further information about the project or how to get involved, please contact us.