Understanding how community organisations and the third sector in Scotland are responding to Covid-19


When lockdown first hit in March 2020, we saw a remarkable response across communities, citizens and a wide range of third sector organisations, who rapidly adapted to meet local people’s health and wellbeing needs. This ranged from support with obtaining food and medication to nurturing social connections and emotional resilience. New ways of working and collaborative partnerships with other services have shown that real change can happen at scale and pace when the conditions are right to nurture this.

Working in partnership with Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s Improvement Hub (ihub) and Outside the Box, we listened community groups and third sector organisations across Scotland to shine a spotlight on the role and value community organisations play in supporting local people’s health and wellbeing, and to understand:

  • how communities responded to the pandemic’s challenges and met local health and wellbeing needs
  • what helped and what’s been getting in the way of community organisations supporting people’s health and wellbeing
  • what is important in the future to enable community organisations to take the lead and meet local wellbeing needs

As part of this work we hosted 5 workshops to listen to people’s experience across Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Inverness and West Scotland and heard from 103 people, as well as engaging people through social media and an online survey. We gathered these insights and learning and shared these with community groups across Scotland during an open event in March. 

Our findings and recommendations have been included in Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s iHub’s Catalyst for Change series which you can read here.

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