16 May 2024

Legal & General and UCL Institute of Health Equity launch new fund to support up to 150 communities across the UK

  • Ongoing partnership between Legal & General and Sir Michael Marmot and the UCL Institute of Health Equity explores the role of businesses and investors in addressing health inequalities.
  • £3m Fund will award grants to support place-based projects from local authorities, charities, businesses, and community groups across UK regions and nations.


With the UK contending with record levels of long-term sickness and strained public health resources post pandemic—alongside an ongoing correlation between economic deprivation and poor health—global investor and leading UK financial services Group, Legal & General (‘L&G’), has today announced a new £3 million ‘Health Equity’ Fund (‘the Fund’), in partnership with Sir Michael Marmot CH and the University College London (UCL) Institute of Health Equity.

Since 2021, Legal & General and the Institute of Health Equity have worked together to explore the role of business in reducing health inequalities in the UK. Research from this partnership has shown that:

  • tackling the root causes of health and social inequalities – the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age – can prevent or improve poor health outcomes and increase healthy life expectancy, and
  • business and investor involvement in addressing health and social inequalities can drive positive outcomes for people and communities and generate commercial and economic benefits (such as increased productivity) at local, regional, and national levels.[1]

In response, L&G’s new ‘Health Equity’ Fund will support up to 150 place-based initiatives across the UK which directly address the social determinants of health: non-medical social and economic factors, including housing, education, infrastructure, and quality of work, which have an influence on local and national public health. It will provide grant funding of up to £75,000 per project. Of the £3m total, £1m will be deployed as a trailblazer fund for the North East of England ahead of opening up a UK-wide approach in the summer.

The Fund is the latest outcome of Legal & General’s long history of using its role as a business and investor to positively influence health outcomes, recognising that a stable economy and healthy society go hand in hand and businesses and investors can actively help to support both.

Pete Gladwell, Group Social Impact & Investment Director at Legal & General, said:

“ We know that businesses and investors can be a force for good in society, and they have a crucial part to play in addressing health inequalities as investors, employers, and providers of goods and services.  We believe we can scale up this positive influence further by partnering with local and sector experts, such as Legal & General’s work with Sir Michael Marmot.  Place-based, localised initiatives are essential to tackling the social, environmental, and economic challenges facing the UK—including improving public health. We want to use this fund to empower those initiatives to benefit more people.

“We have seen the ongoing positive benefits of integrating climate and environmental considerations in business strategies and investments; considering and integrating the needs of communities and public health and wellbeing can have the same effect. Reducing disparities in health, wealth, and wider society creates thriving places and communities and stable, growing economies.” 

Professor Sir Michael Marmot, CH, Director of the UCL Institute of Health Equity, said:

“ Community and voluntary sector organisations make vital contributions to health and health equity by supporting and representing excluded and disadvantaged communities, delivering vital services, providing opportunities for volunteering, and advocating for improvements in the conditions in which people live. Support from businesses, such as Legal & General, to this under-resourced sector is vital. The IHE is hopeful that L&G’s grants to voluntary and community sectors will support the health of the communities who benefit. 

“While healthcare is important in treating ill health, the causes of ill health lie in the conditions in which we are born, grow, live, work and age. It is these social determinants of health (SDH) that largely determine our health and how long we live. The UCL Institute of Health Equity provides the evidence of what to do and how to do it, and the Health Equity Network is an important vehicle to turn that evidence into practice."

The Fund’s focus on the social determinants of health stems from L&G’s long-term partnership with Sir Michael Marmot CH, first announced in 2021. Previous and ongoing partnership projects include:

  • A review of health inequalities and the role of business in tackling these – The Business of Health Equity: The Marmot Review for Industry, a report by the IHE supported by Legal & General
  • A Legal & General IHE network – the Health Equity Network – which currently has over 1,800 active members from UK public authorities, health professionals, and businesses to support idea creation, sharing of best practice, insight, and innovation to tackle health inequality with a place-based approach

Legal & General is committed to making long-term investments in infrastructure to create a better built environment, better homes, and better jobs—each of which can contribute to improving social and health equity. It has also been working to improve public health through investment, advocacy, a strong track record of lasting academic and public sector partnerships, and using its role as an investor to positively influence peers.

L&G’s previous and ongoing health-related activity ranges from funding the University of Edinburgh’s Advanced Care Research Centre to help advance our understanding of how we can live, work, and age more healthily, through to supporting the Centre for Progressive Change’s Safe Sick Pay campaign, and encouraging a focus on nutrition in present-day health policymaking through Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM)’s Investment Stewardship Team.

[1] The Business of Health Equity: The Marmot Review for Industry (Marmot M, Alexander M, Allen J, Munro A, Institute of Health Equity (2022))

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About the Legal & General ‘Health Equity’ grant fund

  • The Legal & General ‘Health Equity’ Fund is a £3 million fund offering grants of up to £75,000 to placebased projects that address the social determinants of health.
  • The fund will initially launch with a trailblazer £1mn available to projects based in the North East of England ahead of a UK-wide launch in the summer of 2024.
  • Example projects that the Fund may support could range from funding for inner-city schools in areas of deprivation to community programmes which address the social determinants behind pressures on A&E services, or partnerships raising awareness of the contribution the natural environment makes to health and wellbeing.

How to apply

  • To apply you must login or register to be a member of the https://healthequitynetwork.co.uk/. This is a free membership and it will provide you with further information and updates.
  • Once you have signed up and logged in, you will be able to find information about the Fund on the new Legal & General Health Equity Fund page, which is available via the menu bar.
  • Interested parties with projects in the North East of England can submit expressions of interest from 04 June 2024 ahead of the launch of the official application process.
  • The UK-wide launch will open in the summer of 2024.