Aerial View of Plymouth including some of The Sound
It is important that everyone’s voices are heard. If you are interested in helping to design solutions to address challenges in the area where you live, please contact:


What is the South-West Coastal Local Policy Innovation Partnership (SWC LPIP)?
A group of organisations across Cornwall, Devon and Somerset have been funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to work in partnership to design solutions that make life better in our coastal communities.
There is growing evidence that coastal communities (near the sea) face unique challenges. Some key factors may include the decline of traditional industries, the strong reliance on tourism which leads to a low incomes, seasonal jobs and higher house prices, However, to understand the experiences of these challenges in more detail the partnership will put people in communities at the heart of the work.
Our aims:
  • To better understand the key economic, community and environmental problems that affect our communities. 
  • To work together with communities to design solutions (and recognise good practice that is struggling for recognition?). 
  • To support the solutions to be adopted into policy making.
How will this be achieved? 
To build a consensus around what the key economic, community and environmental problems are in this region and how best solutions can be developed through:
  1. Establishing a network of partners (community, service, academic, policy) committed to achieving inclusive and sustainable growth with communities in coastal areas and regions. 
    a. Maximising the chance of ensuring the right people are involved. 
    b. Provide access to existing data and information.  
    c. Help troubleshoot any barriers to adoption.  
  2. Using participatory methods to understand the challenges and design solutions.
    a. Helping all voices to be heard, which leads to designing optimum solutions.  
    b. Spreading the understanding of these difficult challenges into communities so useful conversations can happen across all areas of public services. 
  3. Creating opportunities for experimentation and testing possible solutions. This will: 
    a. Maximise the learning in ways that are safe to fail. 
    b. Allow a learning culture to emerge.
  4. Analysing impacts on existing policy and practices. 
    a. Improving insight into how solutions can be adapted into wider practice.  
    b. Highlighting where existing policy and practice can be improved.
    c. Embed the knowledge and learning within policy and practice in the South-West coastal region, other coastal regions and in national policy.
SWC LPIP Phase 1- Understanding the challenges and building knowledge
Phase one of the LPIP lasts only 5 months (from April to September 2023) and brings together partners to collectively identify the barriers to achieving inclusive and sustainable growth in Southwest coastal areas.
Working collaboratively the team will develop a comprehensive understanding of the problems our communities are facing, as well as the strengths of, and opportunities for coastal communities and build a consensus about how the best solutions can be developed, tested and evaluated.
The first phase of work will see the creation of an evidence repository providing new coastal datasets (linked and at a greater level of granularity), evidence of good practice and key local insights which can be shared with partners across the region and to coastal areas beyond. The repository will also include an analysis of previously conducted consultations with communities and a collation of local academic studies pertaining to coastal communities.
SWC LPIP Phase 2
Once a consensus around the key barriers to achieving inclusive and sustainable growth in the Peninsula and priority areas for action has been established, the SWC LPIP team will seek to apply to Stage 2 UKRI funding. This second phase will design and evaluate local policy and practice projects that address those barriers identified in phase one. Four of the ten LPIP areas will be selected for Phase 2, each receiving up to £4.8 million to take their work forward. 
Stock Photo ID: 1273511113 Housing overlooking the natural harbor at Falmouth in Cornwall UK. Coastal communities
Top view of mixed race group of people standing near the table. Young business team working on start-up project together. Coastal communities
Stock Photo ID: 772571584 Aerial view of Watchet in Somerset, UK. Coastal communities
Partners and stakeholders
Our approach comprises a diverse range of stakeholders – from the public, business and voluntary and community sectors as well as those living along the coast themselves. 
Our academic partners (from the Universities of Plymouth, Exeter and Falmouth) will help us develop our understanding by completing rapid evidence reviews and undertaking very small-scale analysis of the many data sets that are available but that are not always joined up or modelled using complex techniques. 
Our voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) partners will support the LPIP by enabling research by community researchers, including those facing the greatest inequalities, to give us insights into what matters to people and the priority areas they feel need to be addressed.

Read the UKRI news on these policy innovation partnerships 
A co-design approach to working with South-West stakeholders and communities
We will lead a project of meaningful engagement with a range of stakeholders to understand the challenges, develop key themes and discuss how best solutions can be developed.
The first stage will focus on starting the key consultation around what we call ‘problem framing’. Put simply, how we identify our ‘solutions’ will rest largely on how we define our ‘problems’ in the first place. This might seem like a strange thing to say. However, policy is often guided by quite fixed ideas, performance monitoring mechanisms and little attention to what matters to the people receiving services. This can lead organisations to focus on activities that do not actually work. One of the key philosophies of this LPIP is to be open to the idea that some interventions do not work – and to openly learn from that.  Being able to be agile enough to understand and respond to programmes that are ineffective is good for both the development of better solutions and accounting for the best use of public money. 
How can we support problem framing?
In part by more sophisticated data analysis and evidence reviews, but also by hearing all voices – from the commissioners to the users of services – to shape our understanding of WHY some of our coastal areas are experiencing among the highest levels of community need and poor opportunities and some of the worst health outcomes in England.

Community researchers

We also need to identify gaps in representation to ensure that voices from across the breadth of coastal communities can be heard and brought together. Therefore, we will be recruiting and training a cohort of community researchers to bring insight and knowledge from our coastal communities.
Coastal communities

Working in partnership

Grow our list of interested stakeholders. We will build on existing partnerships such as the Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs) in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset which are collaborative networks of service providers from across the NHS, local authorities and district councils and the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector (VCSE) as well as service users and carers. 
Issue an online survey to start to map out policy and research priorities. We will feed back the results of this survey online, with your suggestions about how best to establish partnership working across key areas such as the economy.
Hold sub-group meetings. Given the size of SWC LPIP’s geographical footprint, we will hold most of these virtually. Members of the public who have difficulty joining online will be supported by local VCSE organisations.
We will regularly post the results of this consultation process on our website and by distributing news through our policy and VCSE networks.

Consortium awarded funding to explore challenges facing coastal communities

The University is leading the South-West Coastal Local Policy Innovation Partnership (SWC LPIP) to explore some of the key inequalities facing the region's coastal communities and how they might be addressed. Through collaboration with a range of public, private and voluntary bodies, including those communities who have directly experienced these challenges, this UK Research and Innovation funded project is bringing together voices from across the breadth of coastal communities. 
Causeway across the bottom of Mount's bay Marazion, Cornwall, England.Shutterstock ID:398239339

Funded by