Equally Well: Report of the Ministerial Task Force on Health Inequalities

This is the report of the Ministerial Task Force on Health Inequalities


The Task Force has noted that Third Sector organisations can be very effective in addressing the wider factors underlying health inequalities. Where Third Sector services demonstrate that they contribute to meeting local outcomes and priorities, they should be given the resources by their funders and commissioners to allow services to be maintained, developed and make more financially sustainable.

Example: Fife Community Food Project

The Fife Community Food Project was launched in November 2006.

It aims to improve access to and take up of a healthy diet by communities within areas of multiple deprivation in Fife. Using work around food, such as workshops, growing projects and training, the project seeks to build individual and community capacity and engage people in practical and sustainable food related projects that inspire health and wellbeing.

The project has four Community Food Development Workers, employed by Fife Council, who work with groups ranging from homeless people to young people with drug and alcohol issues, and from older people to young families.

Examples of current work are:

  • co-ordinating the development of fruit and vegetable co-ops in nurseries.
  • improving access to affordable, quality fruit and vegetables in regeneration areas.
  • engaging with a local retailers to develop healthier sausages that are now available for the local community.
  • establishing local weaning groups giving practical advice on healthy eating for babies and toddlers.
  • planning, developing and organising cookery classes on a budget for young mothers.
  • growing initiatives at primary schools.

Example: Aberdeen Healthy Living Network

Aberdeen is frequently perceived as a wealthy city, with a thriving economic climate. However, a significant number of citizens experience poverty and deprivation.

In 2002, 22 organisations, with specific and broad remits for promoting health and reducing health inequalities, formed a network to take forward a community development approach to health improvement. The universal commitment at the outset was that the network should be a low bureaucracy, "money on the ground" initiative, working with and empowering people experiencing economic disadvantage.

The network provides the vehicle for members to share resources, premises, contacts, information, good practice and ideas. By making these connections the partners involved achieve joined up thinking and working, to generate solutions to often complex problems.

Over the course of the initiative, the scale of support provided to Aberdeen's disadvantaged and vulnerable communities has been significant. More than 62,000 people have used, participated in or been customers of projects such income maximisation campaigns, life skills development programmes, parenting programmes, advice and information services and credit unions.

The Task Force is aware of increased Government investment for the Third Sector, where its activities support the Government's overall purpose. This will include a £30 million Scottish Investment Fund which will support enterprise in the Third Sector through supporting asset and business development. These funds will be for organisations with financially sustainable business plans and from across Scotland. Those working with disadvantaged and remote communities will be particularly encouraged to apply. These organisations are likely to be able to contribute in the Task Force's priority areas for action, such as support for families in children's early years, tackling poverty and improving employment opportunities. The Task Force is aware that details of the criteria and process for organisations to access funding from the Scottish Investment Fund are currently being developed. We would like to see the links between Government investment and health inequalities priorities made explicit, and recommend:

69. Funding for Third Sector organisations through the Government's new Scottish Investment Fund should support Third Sector action in the priority areas identified in the Task Force's recommendations, and this should be contained in criteria for for the Fund.

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