CFHS was established, originally under the name Scottish Community Diet Project, as a result of recommendations contained in the 1996 ground breaking government strategy “Eating for Health: A Diet Action Plan for Scotland”. The task identified was the need to ‘promote and focus dietary initiatives in low-income communities and bring these within a strategic format’.
Our aim remains to ensure that everyone in Scotland has the opportunity, ability and confidence to access a healthy and acceptable diet for themselves, their families and their communities.

We pursue this aim by ensuring the experience, understanding, and learning from local communities informs policy development and delivery. Communities, planners and policy makers are encouraged and enabled to constructively engage with each other in addressing inequalities in food and health.
CFHS works with both geographical communities (eg. neighbourhoods, villages) and communities of common interest (eg. users of mental health services, travellers), the common feature being that the work is focused on those communities that suffer disadvantage and would benefit most.
CFHS runs programmes of work around information, engagement, practice development, capacity building, inclusion and impact, within an approach that has recently been referred to as an assets-based approach; in other words, where local communities are seen as part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.
CFHS is funded through the Scottish Government. In April 2013 it became part of NHS Health Scotland, following 16 years as part of Consumer Focus Scotland, formerly the Scottish Consumer Council. NHS Health Scotland is a special Health Board with a national remit to tackle health inequalities.
On 1 April 2020, NHS Health Scotland, after 17 years has now merged with Health Protection Scotland and Information Services Division – to form Public Health Scotland – Scotland’s lead agency for improving and protecting the health and wellbeing of all of Scotland’s people.
Our vision is a Scotland where everybody thrives.


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You can also catch up with our current work on the CFHS website.

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Covid-19 e-bulletin : 21 May 2021


Community food initiatives and the recovery from Covid

As some parts of Scotland begin setting up for the easing of lock-down, ideas and plans on recovery are beginning to emerge, including addressing the rise in the use of food aid over the pandemic.

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Using ‘cash first’ approaches to address food insecurity
Both before and during the pandemic, agencies and community food initiatives have collaborated to redirect people experiencing food insecurity towards ‘cash first’ options, such as welfare or financial advice.

The Independent Food Aid Network and partners have supported this approach by developing ‘cash first’ referral leaflets for 14 local areas across Scotland. These provide signposting information for individuals experiencing financial crisis. The most recent cash first leaflet was launched last week in Glasgow and a recording of this event is available on Youtube, which provides insight into the process of producing these leaflets.

The leaflets are available on the IFAN website and include some translated versions.

Dr Flora Douglas from Robert Gordon University has recently completed a study on the role of health staff working in the community, who are promoting cash first approaches via the Financial Inclusion Pathway in Aberdeen. The study explores the experiences of women managing food budgets on low incomes and their views about the challenges and benefits of discussing their finances with health visitors, midwives and family nurses. 

Flora has written a guest blog: Cash First approaches to addressing food insecurity: What is the role of health visitors, midwives and family nurses?, which is available on the CFHS website.

The next e-bulletin will explore how Lanarkshire Community Food and Heath Partnership has collaborated with local partners to support cash first approaches and what impact this has had on the need for food aid.


Supporting Communities Safely

The latest edition of the Supporting Communities Safely resource has been launched, with a specific focus on the steps required for re-opening services indoors.

It covers decision-making processes for assessing and reducing risk and gives advice on key issues such as calculating capacity for your space or building, managing physical distancing, and the importance of ventilation.  It reinforces key messages on hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfection and facial coverings, as well as how to comply with the current Test and Protect system if you are a community-based group or organisation. 

A webinar was held on 12 May 2021, delivered by Public Health Scotland, SCVO and SCDC, that covered many of these issues. 

The recording of the session can be found on YouTube


Recovery and future plans

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Food Standards Scotland has just published its strategy for the next five years. As well as building on previous work, the strategy incorporates newer challenges, such as those resulting from the EU Exit, Covid-19 and climate change.

You can read the strategy on the FSS website.

In March, the Scottish Government published its response to the Social Renewal Advisory Report ‘If not now, when?’ The response focuses on using a human rights approach to address the challenges highlighted or exacerbated by the pandemic. Cash-based and dignified responses are discussed as a way of reducing food insecurity and poverty.

The response is available on the Scottish Government website.


Health Inequalities and Human Rights Learning Hub

Public Health Scotland has recently launched this online resource for anyone who has an interest in understanding health inequalities in Scotland and the steps you can take to reduce them.

The resource can be accessed on the Public Health Scotland Virtual Learning Environment. 


Research reports

Impact of Coronavirus Control Measures on a Selection of Health Determinants in Scotland

Obesity Action Scotland (OAS) commissioned the Diffley Partnership to undertake public polling to measure the impact of the pandemic control measures on a selection of health determinants.

The results are available on the OAS website.

Community health and wellbeing: sustaining the role of community organisations beyond the initial Covid response
This research report from Nesta, Health Care Improvement Scotland’s ihub and Outside the Box explores the role of community organisations in supporting people’s health and wellbeing during the Covid-19.

The report can be accessed on the ihub website.

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Adapt and Thrive webinars

Firstport Scotland is running a number of webinars during May and June to help groups looking to apply for Adapt and Thrive funding.

Registration is available here.

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Coming out of Covid

Approaches to re-energise and re-motivate food partnerships as the Covid lockdown is lifted

27 May 2021
10 am – 12 pm

This workshop from Sustainable Food Places will explore ways in which food partnerships can begin to rebuild momentum and re-focus activities towards delivery of their outcomes.

More information on the Sustainable Food Places website.

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from 5 June 2021

The #MonthofCommunity starts with The Big Lunch weekend from 5 June, and supports a number of charitable events throughout the summer. You can host your Big Lunch in support of a good cause.

More information and details of how to get your free Big Lunch pack on the Eden Communities website.

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Glasgow City Food Plan launch

15 June 2021
2 pm
online via Zoom

Open to all, this event will lanch the new 10 year Glasgow City Food Plan, which has been developed by Glasgow Food Policy Partnership.

Register here.

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Food and food systems in a time of insecurity

7th BSA Food Study Group conference

21-23 June 2021
online (booking fees apply)

This two day event from the British Sociological Association will examine the ongoing challenges to the food system following the Covid pandemic.

More information on the BSA website.

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Save the date: Fife Food Summit

Making food good in Fife and for our planet

22 June 2021
9.30 am – 1 pm

The Fife Food Summit will focus on key themes including reducing food waste and keeping good food in circulation, how to use and procure local and seasonal food more, and work better together.

For more information, contact

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Global Majority Fund

The Coalition of Racial Equality and Rights (CRER) will be delivering and overseeing funds of £250,000 to BME organisations across Scotland to continue to deliver services to communities that have been impacted by Covid-19 and lockdowns.

More information and details of how to apply on the CRER website.

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Essentia Foundation

Grants of £500 to £3000 available to charities and community groups working to improve the health and social welfare of, and offer training and employment opportunities to, young people up to the age of 25.

More information and details of how to apply on the Foundation Scotland website.

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Partners in Change

A new fund from the Robertson Trust for organisations working in Scotland with a charitable purpose and an annual income above £2 million. The fund will focus on change and its application to how services and support for people experiencing poverty and/or trauma are designed and delivered. Expressions of interest are sought by 3 June.

More information on the Robertson Trust website.

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Healthier catering

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has produced this series of short guides providing practical tips and advice on making changes to the food and drinks you buy, prepare, promote and serve to make it healthier.

The guides can be accessed on the FSS website.


Community Food and Health (Scotland),
Public Health Scotland, Meridian Court, 5 Cadogan Street, Glasgow G2 6QE
tel: 0141 414 2890 • email:

Copyright © 2020 Community Food and Health (Scotland). All rights reserved.

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