The third sector is a vibrant and varied place, full of people taking action because they feel passionate about something, because their lives have been affected by an issue, because they care.

Our health, and the health of the people we love is something we all care about passionately. That’s why there are loads of great organisations in the third sector set up to support health and well-being issues.

Mental health, disability, fitness, creative approaches to therapy and recovery – these are just some of the areas where third sector health groups are providing specialist support and pioneering ideas.

The challenge for us is to highlight where the NHS can work better with the third sector, and to discover where health care can be better integrated with social care. Joining up the dots will help provide a holistic approach to our health and our happiness, especially as the health and social care integration agenda gets underway.

Recently Paul Gray, Director-General Health and Social Care and Chief Executive of NHS Scotland, paid a visit to the Building Healthier and Happier Communities programme. Paul met people involved in the projects and heard about the innovative work they are doing in local communities to tackle social isolation. It was a great opportunity for us to share the approach we’ve taken in East Dunbartonshire to improve the health and wellbeing of people and communities. It also drew attention to the chances for the public sector and third sector to work better together.

In East Dunbartonshire, Building Healthier and Happier Communities has funded nine innovative projects that have all been working hard over the past few months to make a really positive difference to the lives of people in their communities.

In a great new video from Group Recovery Aftercare Community Enterprise (GRACE), you can see how the Aftercare through Arts and Technology is boosting the confidence and skills of people affected by life traumas such as addiction, mental ill-health or homelessness.

G.R.A.C.E. Short Version from Media Education on Vimeo.

We’re sure you’ll agree that hearing directly from those who have benefited from the project is very powerful. And more may be on its way, as we recently held a media workshop for our nine projects to learn new techniques to tell their stories!

Sharing our success stories through project visits with key stakeholders is just one of the ways we’re showcasing the great work of the third sector in improving health and well-being. If you’d like to find out more about the Building Healthier and Happier Communities and hear more about the projects we funded, come along to our Shared Learning Event on 10th March in Bishopbriggs. Find out more on the BHHC events page or email