Building Healthier & Happier Communities

Charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations of all shapes and sizes already make significant impacts in areas like early intervention, prevention and care, and support for people with complex and multiple conditions. With the right support, there is scope for them to make even more of a difference.

Building Healthier and Happier Communities (BHHC) has been a fresh approach to improving the health and quality of life of people and communities across Scotland. It is designed as a national programme that can be managed and delivered delivered locally.

The story so far

BHHC seeks to improve understanding of how a strategic investment in the capacity of the voluntary sector can manage demand for statutory services and improve the quality of life for people in their own communities.

A pathfinder (pilot) for the national programme took place in East Dunbartonshire between October 2013 and March 2015. Its aim was to understand how a change in community capacity can enable prevention at the locality and primary care levels.

The learning and experience of the pathfinder is documented in a series of reports, all of which present compelling evidence to demonstrate that the objective was achieved, and as such continue to inform future developments.

Campaign infographic

What did we learn?

Our Outcomes Evaluation Report from the pathfinder work is now available. You can access it by following the link below.

Download the Outcomes Evaluation Report

What can happen now

The BHHC pathfinder has:

“…built a movement of people from all sectors who are committed to working together to develop health and happiness in a different way.”

The learning from the BHHC approach in East Dunbartonshire has provided a clear and timely offer to integration authorities as they continue to consider how broader community-based approaches with voluntary sector participation might support the delivery of the national health and wellbeing outcomes.

The learning from BHHC has been included in our Learning about Capacity Building report (see below) which captures learning from a range of partnership programmes, supported by the Joint Improvement Team (JIT), to build voluntary sector capacity to contribute towards Reshaping Care for Older People and the integration of adult health and social care. Each of these programmes achieved a range of excellent outcomes and generated learning about what works and what doesn’t in relation to capacity building.

We hope these major lessons will help to improve our knowledge and understanding of what works and inform future design, commissioning, delivery and policy-making on capacity building.

Understanding asset mapping and partnership

SCVO’s ambition is for the voluntary sector to play an increasing role in improving health and social care, and in supporting individuals to support themselves and others. It is important that this role is recognised by all partners and that the voluntary sector is acknowledged as an equal partner in delivering quality health and social care in contributing to addressing health inequalities within communities.

Following receipt of Scottish Government funding to bring community assets to the health and social care community planning table, SCVO commissioned the Employment Research Institute of Edinburgh Napier University to review asset based approaches, how these relate to health and social care integration and the opportunities for voluntary sector partnering. In collaboration with the local voluntary sector interfaces, and building on the pilot work in East Dunbartonshire, the report focuses on three pilot areas: Falkirk, Aberdeen City, and Argyll and Bute. The report is now available and SCVO continues to engage with partners to assess its conclusions and consider how to take forward the recommendations at both local and national level.

Understanding Asset-Mapping and Partnering in Scotland: a report into the activities and resources of Scottish voluntary organisations

Get involved

If you’d like to get involved, please contact a member of the team using the contact details at the bottom of the page.

East Dunbartonshire project updates

The following nine projects were funded to take forward their new ideas for improving the health and wellbeing of East Dunbartonshire communities, including an allotment for people with limited mobility and drama and digital workshops for those affected by life traumas.

Aftercare through Arts and Technology

Aftercare through Arts and Technology, managed by Group Recovery Aftercare Community Enterprise (GRACE), is delivering a series of drama and digital arts workshops to boost the confidence and skills of people affected by life traumas, such as addictions, mental ill-health and homelessness.

Update: This great video shows the difference GRACE is making, not just to the people who are involved but to their families who are also noticing that they are healthier and happier.

Carers’ Wellbeing Reviews

Carers’ Wellbeing Reviews, managed by Carers Link, is providing a tailored and more intensive approach to carers’ health and wellbeing, supporting their needs to access other services or change a behaviour.

Update: Being able to talk to someone about their needs is making such a difference to the lives of carers supported by Carers Link. From simple things, like getting a massage, to more intensive help to quit smoking, all of this support is helping individuals to feel good about themselves.

East Dunbartonshire Asset Map Launch

East Dunbartonshire Asset Map Launch, managed by East Dunbartonshire Association for Mental Health, is enabling the local community to find about healthy and enjoyable activities in their area, by helping them to understand and use the Asset Map.

Update: Throughout East Dunbartonshire local people have been able to own the asset map, by identifying and mapping the places that make them feel good. There is a really wide range of suggestions on offer and there truly is something for everyone.

East Dunbartonshire Green Gym

East Dunbartonshire Green Gym, managed by The Conservation Volunteers in Scotland, is applying a tried and tested formula to improve their local environment, getting fit and having fun in the process.

Update: Get down to Merkland Local Nature Reserve or Tintock woods to check out what these Green Gymers have been doing! From woodland thinning, litter picking, removing patches of rhododendron and paths cleared – you can’t fail to notice the difference!

Hear to Help

Hear to Help, managed by Action on Hearing Loss, is scaling up a successful project that already exists in East Dunbartonshire to support people to operate and look after their hearing aids, so they are able to participate more fully in all aspects of day-to-day life.

Update: Hear to Help is powering ahead with drop-ins in sheltered housing and care homes offering help to get residents and care staff supported and trained in keeping hearing aids in tip-top condition and getting folks listening and involved in daily life.


Partner-ED, managed by Ceartas, are working to improve services by developing the skills, knowledge and confidence of the local community to participate in designing and developing health and social care services, so that they meet the needs of the people who use them.

Update: Sessions for volunteers have started and will run for seven weeks. So far the response has been great!

Rosebank Allotments Service

Rosebank Allotments Service, managed by CarrGomm aims to improve access to the health and well-being benefits of working in an allotment for people with limited mobility, by installing raised beds.

Update: With the improved weather, building the raised beds is completed and now people with mobility impairment can begin spring planting.

Twechar Meal Delivery Service

Twechar Meal Delivery Service, managed by Twechar Community Action, will use a meal delivery service to give local older and vulnerable people a healthy meal and provide them with information and support to help them participate in community activities.

Update: Older people having been enjoying meals for some weeks now – and mince and tatties is proving to be a very popular choice! The project is starting to identify other unmet needs such a book delivery in partnership with the local library.

Youths on Bikes Scheme

Youths on Bikes Scheme (YOBS), managed by East Dunbartonshire Cycle Co-op, seeks to reduce the social isolation and loneliness of house bound and older people in the community of Auchinairn, through intergenerational opportunities.

Update: With YOBS training underway the focus shifts to organising visits to older people on their bikes and deliver fresh food and groceries.

For further information on SCVO’s work around the Health and Social Care agenda please contact:
Alana Neil:
Ruth Boyle:

Page last modified on 23rd January 2020