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by Kate Shannon
22 December 2014
Programme improves health in communities

Programme improves health in communities

A pioneering community programme has the potential to achieve what decades of investment in Scotland’s most disadvantaged areas could not, according to a new report.

Link Up, developed by Inspiring Scotland, has been piloted in 10 communities across Scotland and helped over 9,000 people since January 2012.

The report said Link Up had enabled local people to turn their lives around themselves and deliver financial benefits of up to £6m.

Celia Tennant, Inspiring Scotland chief executive, said: “Problems in some of Scotland’s challenged communities remain intractable. Inequality is growing and sadly too many people and communities continue to be defined by the issues affecting them. Link Up turns this on its head by using the strengths, skills and experiences of local people to bring about change. 

“In the current economic climate we need to invest in cost-effective ways to deliver sustainable change at a community-wide level. The evidence suggests Link Up offers a real solution.”  

The value of the Link Up approach was commented upon by Sir John Elvidge, author of the Carnegie UK Trust report, The Enabling State

He said: “A key question in the widespread discussion generated by the Carnegie UK Trust’s work on The Enabling State is how the success of communities in finding ways to increase their own wellbeing can be scaled up and accelerated without smothering the vital role that people have in shaping the activities which are right for them. 

“Inspiring Scotland’s Link Up programme makes a useful contribution to exploring that question, particularly through the breadth and variety of the projects supported.”

Independent evaluation of the programme found 63 per cent of people engaging with it felt physically and mentally healthier and more than half felt better able to cope with life. The same study also found that participation in Link Up contributed to a significant improvement in the perception local people had of their community as a good place to live

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