Fulfilling Lives: Supporting People Experiencing Multiple Disadvantage

The Fulfilling Lives programme is a £112 million investment over 8 years supporting people who are experiencing multiple disadvantage. The programme funds local partnerships in 12 areas across England to test new ways of ensuring individuals receive joined up and person centred services which work for them.

Aims & approach

What is Fulfilling Lives doing?

Fulfilling Lives aims to improve the support available for people who experience multiple disadvantage, so that individuals are better able to manage their lives.

Multiple disadvantage is defined in this programme as people who experience two or more of homelessness, a record of current or historical offending, substance misuse, and mental ill health.

By developing effective networks and services, people experiencing multiple disadvantage can be supported to improve their lives, which in turn will result in healthier and more fulfilled individuals, more effective communities and a reduced cost to public services.

Partnerships will work with beneficiaries, service providers and commissioners, and local authorities to design, test and implement different approaches which:

  • Provide learning which can be used to create system change

  • Address the combination of factors that can affect the person, in a way that is simple and straightforward for individuals to navigate, with a single access point

  • Assume that people can improve their own circumstances and life chances with the right support

  • Engage people with first-hand experience of multiple disadvantage in the design and delivery of services

  • Provide better co-ordination between those delivering services (both statutory and voluntary sector) and those commissioning services.

People in the lead

To ensure that this programme meets the needs of the people it is designed for, we have established a National Expert Citizens Group to bring together people with first-hand experience of these issues.

These expert citizens will use their knowledge to improve the design and delivery of the services that are available to them, collaborating with local leadership and decision makers across the partnerships to create solutions that work for them.



This programme is intended to achieve a lasting impact that can influence the way that services are commissioned and how networks operate in the future.

To do this, we have commissioned CFE Research and the University of Sheffield to carry out an evaluation that is independent from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Fulfilling Lives partnerships. For more information on the evaluation please have a look at the Fulfilling Lives Evaluation website.

The evaluation aims to:

  • Explore how projects are delivered, understand problems faced and to help identify solutions and lessons to learn
  • Track and assess the achievements of the programme to date; and to estimate the extent to which these can be attributed to the programme and the interventions delivered
  • Calculate the costs of the projects and the value of benefits to the exchequer and wider society
  • Identify what interventions and approaches work well, for which people and in what circumstances
  • Assess the extent to which The National Lottery Community Fund’s principles are incorporated into project design and delivery and to work out the degree to which these principles influence success.

Local evaluations have been commissioned by each of the partnerships. You can read local publications

Systems change priorities

The most recent focus of the National evaluation is to generate evidence to support the systems change priorities set by the Systems Change Action Network (SCAN). Each of the 5 main priorities have been explored in our research:

(1) co-production (Report coming soon)

(2) systems thinking and what works to create systems change

Systems change Study (Report coming Summer 2022)

The role of lived experience in creating systems change

(3) workforce development (including trauma-informed approaches)

Summary: Workforce development and multiple disadvantage

Briefing 1 - Involving people with lived experience in the workforce

Briefing 2 - What Makes an Effective Multiple Disadvantage Navigator?

Briefing 3 - Upskilling the Wider Workforce

Briefing 4 - Working With Commissioners and Policy-Makers

(4) improving access to mental health services

Full report - Improving access to mental health support

Summary - Improving access to mental health support

(5) service transitions (prison release)

Improving service transitions for people experiencing multiple disadvantage: Prison release

'More than a roof' - addressing homelessness with people experiencing multiple disadvantage

Previous evaluation reports cover topics such as Peer Mentoring, Housing First, Psychologically Informed Environments and the Role of the Keyworker. Find out more

Learning and insights about COVID-19

  • Adapting in Adversity: Thinking about the future - This document highlights learning and insights from the Fulfilling Lives, Women and Girls Initiative and Help through Crisis programmes. It looks at what partnerships and projects need during the next phase of the Covid-19 pandemic to continue providing support for people with multiple disadvantage (two or more of homelessness, current or historical offending, substance misuse, and mental ill health).

Evidence about multiple disadvantage

In 2019 four briefings on multiple disadvantage were published, providing a unique and valuable addition to the evidence base. Read each briefing here –

Fulfilling Lives has provided thematic evidence and learning including Improving Access to Mental Health and The role of lived experience in creating system change. Previous evaluation reports cover topics such as Peer Mentoring, Housing First, Psychologically Informed Environments and the Role of the Keyworker. Find out more

Our responses to Government


Our programme partners

Between 2014 and 2022, the 12 Fulfilling Lives partnerships will design, test and deliver tailored programmes of support which respond to the local context, environment and needs of people experiencing multiple disadvantage.

Each partnership has different system change priorities but are working towards the same three outcomes:

  1. People experiencing multiple disadvantage manage their lives better through access to person centred and co-ordinated services.
  2. Services are tailored and better connected, with service users to fully take part in effective service design and delivery.
  3. Shared learning and the improved measurement of outcomes will demonstrate the impact of service models to key stakeholders and influence future programme design by local services.

We also work with the Making Every Adult Matter coalition to provide specialist support to partners.

  • Birmingham: Changing Futures Together

    Birmingham: Changing Futures Together

    £10 million

  • Blackpool: Fulfilling Lives

    Blackpool: Fulfilling Lives

    £10 million

  • Brighton & Hove, Eastbourne & Hastings: Fulfilling Lives: South East

    Brighton & Hove, Eastbourne & Hastings: Fulfilling Lives: South East

    £9.2 million

  • Bristol: Golden Key

    Bristol: Golden Key

    £10 million

  • Fulfilling Lives Islington and Camden

    Fulfilling Lives Islington and Camden

    £7.7 million

  • Fulfilling Lives Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham (formerly You First)

    Fulfilling Lives Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham (formerly You First)

    £9.7 million

  • Liverpool: Waves of Hope

    Liverpool: Waves of Hope

    £10 million

  • Manchester: Inspiring Change Manchester

    Manchester: Inspiring Change Manchester

    £9.9 million

  • Fulfilling Lives Newcastle & Gateshead

    Fulfilling Lives Newcastle & Gateshead

    £5.5 million

  • Nottingham: Opportunity Nottingham

    Nottingham: Opportunity Nottingham

    £9.8 million

  • Stoke-On-Trent: Voices

    Stoke-On-Trent: Voices

    £10 million

  • West Yorkshire: Finding Independence (WY-FI)

    West Yorkshire: Finding Independence (WY-FI)

    £10 million


Fulfilling Lives: Changing systems for people facing multiple disadvantage

In Changing systems for people facing multiple disadvantage (PDF 7509KB), each of the twelve Fulfilling lives partnerships has created a local systems change plan with a series of priorities for the remainder of the programme.

This document contains 58 systems change priorities from across the partnerships, and when taken together, five common themes emerge which are outlined in the document.

Multiple Disadvantage Day

On 3 July 2019, the Fulfilling Lives partnerships launched the first ever Multiple Disadvantage Day. The aim of the day was to reduce the stigma experienced by some of the most disadvantaged people in society, and educate the public on why a person may experience multiple disadvantage.

As part of the awareness day, there is a dedicated website featuring resources and first-hand stories from people accessing the Fulfilling Lives programme, a number of open events for the public and a social media campaign that encouraged people to #seethefullpicture.

Think people (not problems) to address homelessness issues

Written by Laura Furness, Head of the Fulfilling Lives programme at The National Lottery Community Fund, this blog examines what action we can take to help those who are facing multiple disadvantage.

Fixing the hamster wheel of homelessness

(PDF 628 KB)
This case study from Opportunity Nottingham, one of the partnerships funded through this programme, explores what we mean by the term ‘systems change’. It documents the approach that the partnership has taken, the challenges they have faced to date and shares key learning on what has worked and what hasn’t for beneficiaries in Nottingham.

The Fulfilling Lives Evaluation website

As well as producing independent evaluations of the partnerships’ progress, the Fulfilling Lives Evaluation team have collated a number of reports case studies and stories which focus on key themes and topics within the programme.

These illustrate how partnerships have established approaches, changed and developed their practice as opportunities have arisen and overcome challenges.