The Hartlepool Action Lab is 30 project team members, 40 community researchers, two paid support staff and a growing network of project volunteers and sponsors. We work to facilitate collaboration between local people and organisations, to develop grassroots ideas into working solutions to poverty.

Previous Projects Ran By Hartlepool Action Lab
  • Local people deliver the change we hope to bring about. They work on a voluntary basis and are our biggest asset.
  • We carry out community research.
  • We collaborate with people and organisations from Hartlepool and beyond.
  • We work to develop solutions to poverty based on the assets and issues in Hartlepool.
  • We celebrate the great stuff happening in Hartlepool, and try to learn from what isn’t working.
  • We work with our friends Community Solutions, experts in facilitation. They help us to use agile problem solving techniques to solve complex issues.
  • We host events, send out e-newsletters, occasionally make short videos and Tweet.
  • We are always keen to hear new people’s ideas, so get in touch for a chat or to get involved.

Our background


It all started in 1904. The chocolatier businessman Joseph Rowntree left a legacy to his Foundation to solve the social evils of the day. Broadly speaking, he was talking about poverty. Poverty means not having enough resources for a socially acceptable standard of living. There are fourteen million people experiencing poverty in the UK in 2017.

The Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust has provided residential care services in Hartlepool since 2007. When the Joseph Rowntree Foundation began to think about how it could support citizens and communities to solve poverty, Hartlepool was a natural place to turn.

2016 was the year things really started to happen. We supported a dedicated team of volunteer community researchers to have 400 conversations with local people about what it is like to live in Hartlepool.

The findings of the research were the basis of a collaborative planning workshop in June. At the workshop, local people and organisations came together to develop solutions to the ideas and issues raised in the research. The event was called the Hartlepool Action Lab.

We hope to be able to continue to build on the ‘first’ Action Lab in June 2016. This means more research, more collaboration and more solutions. We hope you will join us.