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The Good Help Project is a community convened by Nesta and Osca, with support from the Big Lottery Fund, that champions support which helps people to identify their own purpose, build confidence and take action. This is what we call ‘good help’.

How we help each other matters. ‘Good help’ supports people to feel hopeful, identify their own purpose and take action. ‘Bad help’ - does the opposite, undermining people’s confidence, sense of purpose and ultimately creating inaction.

‘Bad help’ exacerbates acute issues, such as homelessness or addiction, but also undermines everyday activities, such as parenting and healthy eating. In addition to the personal and social costs involved, there are the significant financial costs of ‘bad help’. When ‘bad help’ affects millions of people, as we believe it does, the financial costs are huge.

Although ‘good help’ is well evidenced and core to how many organisations support people; it is absent from many mainstream services and social programmes. This project hopes to make ‘good help’ a core element of how mainstream services and social programmes are delivered.

The Good Help project aims to promote a deeper awareness across society of the principles, practices and moral responsibility of offering ‘good help’. Knowledge that will be generated through research, practical programmes and widespread engagement with the Good Help community.

Good and Bad Help report

In February 2018 we launched a report 'Good and Bad Help: How purpose and confidence transform lives'; a call to action for policymakers and practitioners. The report draws on a well established evidence base - from decades of research and good practice - to highlight the key drivers of action and seven characteristics of ‘good help’.

Good Help Award 2018

We launched the Good Help Award to discover more examples of ‘good help’ projects that are already happening across the country. 19 finalists have been selected from over 300 applications received. Read more about the award and the 19 finalists, including the overall winner, Blue Marble Training, and the runners up, The Membership Team @Off the Record (Bristol) and NHS Community Pain Service / Pain Clinic Plus.


We are carrying out research to identify the key enablers and disablers of delivering good help in mainstream services. We are specifically looking at; health, social care, justice, education and employment.

Supporting Good Help pioneers

We want to support anyone trying to bring ‘good help’ into mainstream services. If you are or know someone who is please get in touch.

Get involved

We hope our work will be rooted in the specific projects, places and passions of the people in the field. If you would like to be part of this community, run an event or become involved in any other way, please register your interest here, or contact [email protected] or Jo Weir via [email protected]/ 02071250268.

Thank you

Many thanks to the all of the people and organisations who have provided invaluable support in getting us started.

The team

The core team behind the project is Christina Cornwell, Esther Flanagan and Tara Hackett from Nesta and Rich Wilson, Nick Nielson and Jo Weir from Osca.

Project partners


Christina Cornwell

Christina Cornwell

Christina Cornwell

Director, Health Lab

As Director, Christina leads Nesta’s work helping to develop and grow innovations that create new relationships, networks and technologies that improve health and well being.

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Tara Hackett

Tara Hackett

Tara Hackett

Assistant Programme Manager, Nesta Health Lab

Tara joined Nesta in January 2018 and is working in the social health team on a range of projects.

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Esther Flanagan

Esther Flanagan

Esther Flanagan

Senior Programme Manager, Social Health

Esther joined the Health Lab in January 2017 and is working in the social health team on a range of projects.

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