OLD SWAN, LIVERPOOL- The High Street: “A destination to come to rather than go through” 

The area: Old Swan is an neighbourhood in Liverpool facing many challenges. Unemployment rates and household poverty are higher than the national average. The area is divided by major “arterial” roads resulting in traffic jams, noise, risk of road accidents and ‘hot spots’ for air pollution.

Who we are: the group overseeing the programme has named itself Better Old Swan (BOS).  It includes residents supported by Liverpool Community and Voluntary Services, local businesses and a range of professionals working in the area: elected councillors, local authority staff and third sector organisations. BOS organised consultations with a wide range of local stakeholders to identify topics for actions. Over time interest coalesced around the local economy and in particular regeneration of the local high street, increased employment and improvements in the environment. Check out our latest information and events in the Twitter timeline at the bottom of this page.    

What we have done. BOS has conducted several engagement activities such as screening the documentary “The Health Divide”, organising drop-in sessions and participating in local festivals. It also conducted an audit of shops and patterns of use on the high street, meetings with academics evaluating resident-led initiatives to improve neighbourhoods in other areas and meetings with residents from neighboring wards to learn about their projects.

Four areas for action have been identified and initiatives are underway:

Resilience enhancing emerging actions 

  • Improving economic resilience. A Breakfast Club has been set up creating a space for high street business owners to network, share knowledge, identify areas for improvement and build partnerships to increase access to training and resources. Twenty five local business owners and the deputy major attended the first event.
  • Improving the living environment. BOS is now in partnership with Liverpool City Council’s Departments of Public Health and Environment, contributing to the city’s air pollution strategy and conducting a resident-led enquiry using a ‘citizen science model’ to study local air pollution levels and sources.
  • Improving social relationships. Activities are being planned to improve social cohesion in the area and to expand connections’ with other parts of the city.
  • Improving community governance. Dialogues are underway with a wide range of local agencies to explore opportunities for residents to voice concerns and influence decision making that affects Old Swan. These include: the Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub; City Life; Business in the Community; The Police Service; The Fire Service; the local authority; as well local businesses.

Early insights from the process evaluation suggest that BOS is having positive impacts including:

  • Two Resident launched a community magazine for organisations to promote their services to the local community. It was first published in Spring 2018 with a print run of 8,000 copies.
  • A new reading group has been set up by a resident with around 20 other residents purchasing and reading the first novel. The reading group is now registered with Readinggroups.org, which provides access to the groups’ contact details and it has an active Facebook group. 
  • BOS was invited to be part of the Steering Group of the Liverpool Combined Region Air Quality Study (LCRAQS) – it was the only group representing the voice of local communities.


Neighbourhood Lead: Ana Porroche-Escudero; E-mail: a.porroche-escudero@lancaster.ac.uk (Lancaster University) 

CLAHRC NWC has established the COREN (Community Research and Engagement Network). Its purpose is to support projects aimed at reducing health inequalities in neighbourhoods.

Old Swan local COREN Contact details:

LCVS is a local infrastructure organisation and works to improve the wellbeing of individuals and communities in Liverpool. It does this through supporting, encouraging and developingvoluntary action and charitable giving and bringing people,organisations and resources together.We want to work with residents to consult and share informationand identify what really matters in the local area. Volunteers willreceive support and training to effect change and challenge socialinequality.

Contact Paula Atherton for more information about how to get involved 0151 227 5177 Ext 3222 Email: paula.atherton@lcvs.org.uk  


Going Local

Listen to Old Swan resident and BOS member Charlotte Orme in a Podcast discuss her experience of the Old Swan Neighbourhood for Learning. 


As part of our Household Health Survey (2015) in the Old Swan area. The survey gathered information which enabled us to discover local level and socio-economic factors that affect inequalities in physical and mental health. Some results of Social relationships in your area are included below.

On the second diagram Old Swan is the Green bar and compared to 19 other anonymous areas across the North West. &nbsp  In 2019 we are conducting Wave 2 of the HHS to compare the data and monitor change.