Established over 20 years ago, the Edinburgh Community Health Forum (formally Lothian Community Health Initiatives’ Forum (LCHIF) is a membership organisation and registered SCIO (SC023808).
Its primary aim is to be a voice and network for organisations who work to reduce health inequalities and improve long-term health outcomes in Edinburgh.
Our members share a common ideal that it is people in their own communities who are best placed to collectively improve their own health and well being and live better lives.
We support members by providing opportunities to meet, exchange best practice and information and to learn together. We engage with and respond to local and national policies, strategies and consultations. We also work in partnership at strategic levels to reduce health inequalities. We believe that the needs of local people in communities are ultimately what ought to drive agendas at all levels. The forum and its members looks to respond to demographic changes within Edinburgh communities and build the capacity of the voluntary health sector. We seek to facilitate community participation, collective action, and collaborative working between key stakeholders including the Third sector, NHS Lothian and Edinburgh City Council.
Our membership spreads across the whole city and between us have various resources and skills we can share. Click on each member to find out more.
The forum has two part time staff, a voluntary chairperson and trustees from our organisations. Feel free to get in touch if you would like to find out more.
Strategic Development Manager
Stephanie-Anne has been the manager of the forum since 1st April 2017. This is her first post in the voluntary sector having previously worked in local government for almost 30 years with posts in the former Clydesdale District Council, Dunfermline District Council, Fife Council and the City of Edinburgh Council.
Her career in local government was mainly in sport, leisure and culture, with highlights including responsibility for the £37m refurbishment of the Royal Commonwealth Pool, the awarding of the freedom of the City of Edinburgh to Sir Chris Hoy, the winning of the bid for the National Performance Centre for Sport (Oriam) at Heriot Watt university, and the staging of many sporting and other events including the World Duathlon Championships, the Olympic Torch event at Edinburgh Castle, and the Hogmanay Street party. Stephanie-Anne was a member of the Scottish Government’s Physical Activity Task Force which developed and wrote Scotland’s first Physical Activity Strategy. Stephanie-Anne still remains passionate about getting people active enough for their health and the positive impact being active can have on one’s mental and physical health. Stephanie-Anne believes that everyone must take responsibility for their own health which can be supported through the work of local community led organisations with whom she now works to support and develop.
Forum Development Worker
Grace has a degree in Nutrition from QMU and has worked in two previous Forums in her career to date. She is passionate about public health, in reducing health inequalities and takes a strong view on sharing resources and a collaborative approach.
She has been pivotal in the recent rebrand of the Forum and setting up a new way to evaluate the work that we do. Her priorities into 2019 are to continue to promoting the great work of the network and to work on raising the profile of the Forum as a case study for best practice in Scotland (and further afield). Day to day she manages projects, meetings, finances, training and admin for the Forum. She is mum to her little girl and competes in Triathlon in her free time.
Iain Stewart has worked within community education and community development for local authorities in Scotland and England, whilst also running his own consultancy business delivering numerous research and evaluation projects in both the public and voluntary sectors.
Since November 2008, he has been the Chief Executive of Edinburgh Community Food which delivers food and health development programmes across Edinburgh to tackle health inequalities. ECF also has a substantial social enterprise. Key aspects of this role has been to manage and develop the charitable aims of the organisation, secure funding from a range of funding sources, achieve targets agreed with funders, develop and implement the strategic plan and to establish and grow the social enterprise to contribute to the future sustainability of the charity. Iain became a member of the Forum in 2009 as an opportunity to meet other managers, network and share practice and challenges and has been our Chairperson for the past few years.
“I believe that the Forum is an invaluable support for managers of community health initiatives across Edinburgh. The relationship with public sector partners has strengthened greatly over recent years through coproduction and collaboration with the Forum. Going into 2019, we are now well positioned to participate in and influence strategic planning”
Fiona is married with three teenage children, one whippet and a rather old tabby cat. Following a move from London to Edinburgh in 1994 she found the voluntary sector to be her natural home and remains passionate about community –led health initiatives which put people at the centre of the design and delivery of services. Fiona became the Treasurer of the Forum in 2015 and Director of the Ripple in June 2016.
The Ripple adopts a community-led approach to delivering services in consultation with local residents and in response to local need. With 80+ volunteering opportunities filled each week it is our volunteers who lie at the heart of the Ripple and together with the staff team help deliver a wide range of services aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of all ages in our community. Fiona found the ECHF to be a huge support when she became a new Manager in Edinburgh. The knowledge, experience and advice of peers in the field was invaluable as the role can at times feel a ‘lonely’ one, particularly within smaller organisations.
“There is real value in the representation and dissemination of information at a strategic level; especially at a time when capacity and resources are stretched. If there is only one networking forum you have time to attend then would make it this one.”
Charlie became the Chief Executive of the Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust in August 2014, following 11 years as the Trust’s Projects Manager. Charlie leads a committed and dynamic team at a strategic level to help the Trust focus on its core principles of delivering environmental and landscape improvements and of promoting outdoor activities for good mental and physical health that address both social and health inequalities.
ELGT lead initiatives such as the delivery of green active travel routes, community gardening and finding new ways to engage with local communities to get the most out of their local woodlands and greenspaces. ELGT is a key delivery body for the implementation of the Central Scotland Green Network in the East of Scotland. The CSGN is a national development aiming to transform Central Scotland into a place where the environment adds value to the economy and where people’s lives are enriched by its quality. As part of the Forum, Charlie values the space to share his organisation’s experience in engaging local communities and for the collaborative working opportunites and funding it provides.
I have been a member of the Forum since 2002 when I became Manager of Health All Round (HAR.) HAR is a Community Health Initiative based in Gorgie Dalry and we provide a range of services to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in our local area.
HAR is the third charity that I have managed and the first one that isn’t specifically for people with severe and enduring mental health issues. I had a lot to learn when I started the job and the Forum was a great help to me. The other managers I met there helped me understand the statutory funding streams for health inequalities, which can be quite confusing, and it is via the Forum that we are able to develop relationships, communicate and work alongside statutory funders. The Forum is also great for peer support which is helpful for me and the HAR Management Committee (if I am supported, they are supported!) I couldn’t do without the Forum, it’s the first option for me if I have any problems relating to the management or funding of HAR. On a personal note – I’ve made some great friends there too!
Set up in 2003, as an Edinburgh-based Healthy Living Centre, LGBT Health and Wellbeing is now a well-established community development organisation, and the key organisation promoting the health, wellbeing and equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) adults in Scotland. Maruska has been LGBT Health’s CEO since 2008 and on the Forum Exec since 2011.
Set up in 2003, as an Edinburgh-based Healthy Living Centre, LGBT Health and Wellbeing is now a well-established community development organisation, and the key organisation promoting the health, wellbeing and equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) adults in Scotland. Maruska has been LGBT Health’s CEO since 2008 and on the Forum Exec since 2011. Passionate about promoting mental wellbeing and addressing inequalities, prior to her role with LGBT Health, Maruska worked with a number of health and wellbeing focused voluntary sector organisations, including Alzheimer Scotland and the ‘see me’ mental health anti-stigma campaign. As a community activist she has over the years been involved in a range of LGBT and women’s groups and organisations.