The Power of Trading: Exploring the Value of a Trading Shop as a Health-Promoting Community Engagement Approach

Lotte Prevo*, Stef Kremers, Maria Jansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Involving and engaging vulnerable communities from the very beginning is important if we wish to enhance general well-being. With a focus on equal partnership with low-socioeconomic status (SES) families, a Trading Shop in Vaals was developed as a community engagement initiative. In the current study, we focused on the participation process, from preparation to sustaining the Trading Shop, in order to define whether the Trading Shop can be successful in engaging families through focusing specially on their needs and perceived positive health. A formative case study design was carried out to monitor, evaluate, and timely adjust the developments within the Trading Shop by using participatory action research. The Trading Shop was monitored from its preparation to its opening, as well as during the start and the steps taken towards continuation in the form of municipal policy. The results showed one central theme during all phases: the optimal navigation between top-down support from professionals and bottom-up developments among the volunteers in the Trading Shop. With the input from both approaches, it was possible to create an optimal environment for the volunteers to achieve personal development. The inclusivity and accessibility of the Trading Shop as a community engagement initiative offered the opportunity to volunteers to enhance their needs, realizing personal growth and development of their talents in several positive health domains.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4678
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • community engagement
  • positive health
  • low-SES families
  • partnership

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