Healthy Communities project (Scotland & England)

01 Dec 2020
Sarah Clarke

Healthy Communities project (Scotland & England)

What was the Healthy Communities project?

C3’s Healthy Communities project (2016-17) engaged 5,000 community members, approximately one-third of the local populations, in Halifax, England (Ovenden) and Girvan, Scotland (Glendoune).

Impact survey results and qualitative data illustrated that participation in the Healthy Communities project had a profound impact on individuals and catalysed significant community action using C3’s CHESS™ community engagement process. This included both changes in the communities’ physical activity and healthy eating opportunities, and in relation to the broader social determinants of health.

The Healthy Communities project was funded by Nestlé UK & Ireland and carried out by C3 together with two communities near Nestlé’s factories. This partnership included elected representatives, public-health practitioners, voluntary and neighbourhood organisations and, most importantly, the people who call Girvan and Halifax home.

We were delighted that our Healthy Communities project was shortlisted for the 2018 Food and Drink Federation Awards in the Community Partner category.


Project objectives

  1. To support people who live in Ovenden and Glendoune to answer two questions: how can we become more physically active? How can we eat a healthy diet?
  2. To work with the communities and partners to implement their suggested solutions.


Healthy Communities activities

Through a community mapping exercise using the CHESS™ tool, insight sessions with community members and community action plans, we worked with the community to identify realistic and sustainable solutions that utilised existing resources to overcome obstacles to a healthier diet and being more physically active.


Project outcomes and interventions

Ovenden community members on the CHESS walk


Ovenden (Halifax, England)

Interventions implemented:

  • Healthy options moved nearer the till at local Morrisons
  • Cooking classes
  • Gardening
  • Wellbeing classes
  • Community clean-up
  • Dance sessions
  • Breakfast and tea clubs
  • Geocaching (high-tech outdoor treasure hunting)
  • Sports sessions
  • Indoor & outdoor activity sessions

Impact survey results showed increases in:

  • physical activity levels
  • improvement of own health status
  • knowledge about health challenges that the community faces


Glendoune (Girvan, Scotland)

Interventions implemented:

  • Refurbished community centre
  • Reinvigorated Glendoune CommunityAssociation Board
  • Indoor/outdoor sports activities
  • Walking group
  • Drop-in group to help with social isolation
  • Summer picnic boxes for 175 school-aged children
  • Classes through local restaurants: how to prepare vegetables and nutritious meals
  • Community clean-up

Impact survey results showed increases in:

  • participation in sporting activities
  • knowledge of levels of physical activity needed
  • positive changes in own health status
  • understanding of health challenges faced by the local community
  • ways to improve health locally


What’s next?

In early 2018, the Medtronic Foundation awarded C3 $50,000 to build on the project’s foundational work in Ovenden. Early interventions, better lives for longer! aimed to raise awareness about the prevention and early diagnosis of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and respiratory disease, and direct community members to relevant services. Lisa Okonkwo, local project manager for Ovenden’s Healthy Communities project, ran the project in partnership with C3 and Wellbeing People.

Through a generous funding extension from Nestlé to sustain the project until March 2018, local project manager Roddy MacDonald was able to build a strong team of community leaders in the Glendoune Community Association. They used their new skills to apply for further financial support, and a robust business plan for the community centre was also completed.


Why Girvan and Halifax?

In South Ayrshire in south-west Scotland, a population of about 6,700 people live in the small coastal town of Girvan.

In South Ayrshire, hospital admissions relating to cancer, respiratory disease, coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease are all higher than the average for Scotland. In terms of obesity:

  • 70% of men (aged 16+) are classified as overweight or obese
  • 58% of women (aged 16+) are classified as overweight or obese

The town of Girvan also performs poorly on these health indicators. South Ayrshire further performs poorly on income levels, unemployment and crime levels.

Far to the south of Girvan lies Halifax, England, the main commercial, cultural and administrative centre of Calderdale, West Yorkshire (Calderdale population: 203,826 in 2011).

Halifax includes the most deprived areas of Calderdale and scores higher than the Calderdale average on prevalence of coronary heart disease, cancer diagnoses and diabetes. Halifax has higher rates of obesity and low levels of fruit and vegetable consumption among schoolchildren. In 2015, Calderdale ranked the 105th most deprived out of 354 districts in England.


For more information about C3’s community engagement programme, visit our communities page or download our leaflet.

Contact us to schedule a chat about implementing our CHESS community engagement programme in your community.