Feedback from our events in February told us that communities wanted the opportunity to network and build partnerships, so we set up events in May and June about health inequalities in communities in and around Lennoxtown, Bishopbriggs, Kirkintilloch and Bearsden.

Claire Stevens, Chief Officer for Voluntary Health Scotland and Sasha Devine of SCVO delivered presentations on health inequalities which helped to set things in context. Claire focused on the fundamental causes of health inequalities, such as money and resources, and how these then affect the availability of good jobs, housing and education. Sasha focused on the impact of health inequalities on communities and individuals.

We also invited some local third sector organisations to share what they’re doing to combat health inequalities. Christine O’Neil from Community First in Lennoxtown showcased the Chatty Club which gives older people the opportunity to come together and socialise, have a bite to eat, compete in a quiz and listen or dance to live music.

Elaine Smith and Roy Hunter from EDVA & Older People’s Access Line (OPAL) – discussed the one-stop-shop that is OPAL. This is a local collaborative initiative which increases access to alternatives to health and social care services for older people, using explorative conversation.

East Dunbartonshire Cycle Co-op, represented by Karen Ballard, talked about the work of the Co-op and the difference it makes to community life, health and happiness. Karen highlighted the importance of listening to the community and told us about the Cycle Co-op’s feedback system where people are asked how the project is performing, so it can develop based on what matters to people and families. It also offers training and maps of safe cycle/walking routes around East Dunbartonshire.

Gordon Thomson, Chief Executive of a local advocacy service, CEARTAS described his organisation as a voice for the people, improving the choices available and making sure “people are at the heart of what we do”. Going forward CEARTAS wants to increase and encourage more groups to come together, increase their sustainability, offer more training and meet the needs of the community.

There was lots of time to network over coffee, a really popular part of the events as everyone was keen to make the most of the opportunity to meet, make new connections and exchange contact details.

We also asked people to think about what “healthier and happier” meant to them. There were lots of interesting thoughts, including:

  • Having information and choice, being treated fairly, having access to healthcare & services, family quality time
  • Being engaged with my community & friends
  • Being active and having fun
  • Not being worried or stressed
  • Being healthy means being able to accomplish things myself. Being happy keeps me healthy

If you’d like to find out more about the events, read the summary.

Remember, if you’d like to be kept up to date with news of what’s happening in East Dunbartonshire and details about our regular networking events, please sign up to our mailing list. You can also keep an eye on Twitter @SCVO #bhhc!