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
Katie has a degree in Drama and Performance from QMU and is currently working towards a Masters in Applied Art and Social Practice, also at QMU. Katie has worked in various positions throughout her undergraduate degree but most recently through her role as a Beat Ambassador (2017-present) she co-chaired the Scottish Governments Advisory Group for body image in children and young people (2019-2020). She is very passionate about health and inequalities and the collaborative approaches we can take to help reduce these inequalities together.
Katie is new to the ECHF and is looking forward to working towards raising the profile of the Forum, finding creative approaches to promoting the network and working with the organisations involved with ECHF. When she isn’t working or studying Katie is a keen reader, theatre-maker and writer. Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic she has discovered a love for hill walking and is working her way through Scottish Munro’s, all 282 of them!
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!
I’ve been a member of the Forum since March 2020 when I took on the role of Chief Executive of The Health Agency. I have a real interest in physical and mental health and wellbeing, and how we can best support the delivery of services that empower people to achieve their goals and address the issues around inequality.
Previously, I worked with a range of voluntary organisations including advice services and health improvement and the Forum has been invaluable in helping me learn more about all aspects of the community health landscape in Edinburgh. It’s also been a great resource for supporting access to funding, training, networking, peer support and partnership working, and really does act as a voice for the sector. I always take something away from each meeting, and genuinely look forward to them when I see they are coming up. When I’m not at work, I love to run, (I occasionally even make it to the gym), read, cook and go to the theatre whenever I can. I also watch far too much Netflix, enjoy a good podcast and according to one of my team, I make a mean carrot cake.
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.
Marion Findlay has been a member of the Forum
for many years and in 2019 we were delighted to welcome her onto the board of trustees help guide the strategic vision of the Forum. Marion is a leader at Volunteer Edinburgh and is an inspiring member of the forum!
Director of Services at Volunteer Edinburgh, Marion brings a wealth of experience to the role; particularly in the areas of volunteering, employability, adult protection and work and health.
Set up in 2003, as an Edinburgh-based Healthy Living Centre, LGBT Health and Wellbeing works to help 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.munity development organisation, and the key organisation promoting the health, wellbeing and equality of
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.
Vacancy – Trustees
In late 2018 we updated our constitution to allow for additional trustees to join our board. We currently have up to four spaces. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance if you are interested.