Eyemouth Gateway to Good Health (Whole Systems Approach)

The Eyemouth Gateway to Good Health is a joint pilot project by NHS Scotland and Scottish Borders Council. It uses a Whole Systems Approach, involving community partners who have been involved in shaping the project from the outset. The overall aim of the project was to address Public Health Priority 6: A Scotland where we eat well, have a healthy weight and are physically active.

It was difficult initially due to Lockdown restrictions, but people engaged and the project moved forward well despite the very ‘virtual’ aspect of the early days. A creative mapping exercise of what existed locally and what the gaps were soon identified eight specific ‘strands’ for community action.

The impact so far

Outside the Box has been responsible for coordinating and delivering one of the strands, outdoor cooking and nature activities. This has supported training for local groups and schools/nurseries, who now feel confident to deliver such sessions to children they work with. It has also led to local people discovering new areas for outdoor recreation, and making new links with other community groups.

Other strands of the project include a junior park run, cycling training, a community lunch, newsletter and book boxes. At all stages of the project each strand has had active participation in decision-making and practical elements from a wide cross-section of the community.

The legacy of the project will be possible local behaviour change, increased skills and confidence for local workers and volunteers, outdoor equipment and printed resources available to local groups. As a pilot Eyemouth will become an example of how a community-led project can have a positive impact on lifestyles, at the same time strengthening community connections and resilience. Wider impacts should be that fewer children are developing chronic issues with unhealthy lifestyles, which can affect them physically as well as mentally.

Advice for others

This was part of a large funded project but could be achieved on a smaller scale. Key messages for success:

· Speak to other groups and people in the area

· Mapping can be useful if you involve the right people

· Involve local people as volunteers

· Engage with statutory groups too, community councils, schools and local authorities

· Speak to small local businesses who might want to offer donations of food etc

· A large project like this only worked when it was subdivided into smaller working groups

· Finding venues – outdoors and indoors – church halls, local cafes, playing fields – for outdoor areas, contact the landowner and show that you have a risk assessment

· Local authorities and other smaller funders might offer funding towards costs

To find out more

To find out more about this pilot you can visit this website.

To read about the Whole Systems click here.

Resources: available on the OTB website soon