AN innovative partnership which has uplifted many communities across Scotland has celebrated its second birthday.
Community Benefit Gateway (CBG), a joint initiative between NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) and Public Health Scotland, connects local third-sector organisations with NHS Scotland suppliers to fulfil community needs.
Now more NHS Scotland suppliers across the country have been urged to get involved in 2024.
By establishing positive relationships between third sector community organisations and NHS Scotland suppliers, the Community Benefit Gateway helps to improve the economic, environmental and social wellbeing of local areas and helps to reduce health inequalities.
Third-sector organisations are on the front lines of Scottish communities. Through the Community Benefit Gateway portal, they can find appropriate resources, training, events and equipment to support their work in communities.
The Community Benefit Gateway demonstrates the positive effect of partnership working between Scotland’s anchor organisations, local NHS boards, third sector organisations and local communities. This collaboration underscores NSS's commitment to its strategic objective of strengthening community ties and supporting social equity.
A total of 33 community benefits have been delivered across the two years, the equivalent of one every month. And there are 12 community benefits in the process of being delivered.
Some of the community benefits delivered include:
• Materials to help run a local women’s charity group
• Expert IT advice and donation of technology equipment
• Donation of ‘home starter packs’ for the first tenancy of young people
• Purchase of mobility equipment
• Volunteers helping regenerate a local green area
• Providing interview and recruitment skills to jobseekers
• Delivery training session in emergency life support.
These achievements are a testament to NSS’s commitment to fostering local economies and enhancing community well-being as outlined in their Anchors Strategic Plan.
Mary Morgan, Chief Executive for NHS National Services Scotland said: “Over the last two years, the Community Benefit Gateway has made many positive differences to people’s lives and supported a culture of collaboration in our communities.
“We would to like to invite more NHS Scotland suppliers to bid to meet community needs using the portal, contributing to reducing inequalities in Scotland.
"The collaboration has helped to support health inequalities and build community wealth across the country in a variety of ways.
"It has shown that good public procurement can drive efficiencies and make an enormous difference to our social, economic and environmental well being. We hope to continue to build upon that success."
Paul Johnston, Chief Executive for Public Health Scotland said: “By enabling community organisations and services to operate at their highest potential, the support that NHS Scotland suppliers give them will ultimately help to improve lives and create healthier, more connected communities. ,
“It is uplifting to see the range of benefits that have been delivered in the two years since the online portal launched. We’re delighted to share four new case studies on our website showing how organisations have been using the portal, and the impact this has had on employability and support for children, families and citizens.
“We encourage more community organisations to sign up to get free help for their own community needs.”
• The NHS National Services Scotland Anchor Strategic plan sets out how Scotland’s health and social care bodies can operate as effective and collaborative anchor institutions.
• Public Health Scotland (PHS) is the lead national agency for improving and protecting the health and wellbeing of all of Scotland’s people.
• NHS National Services Scotland is a central NHS board for Scotland, commissioned by the Scottish Government, that provides advice and service to the NHS and wider public sector.
Mind Your Head was able to meet increased local demand for mental health support in Shetland thanks to financial assistance from Alpha Solway. The aid has helped them sustain the delivery of their Wellness Programme, providing a range of services and activities including one-to-one sessions.
Dunrossness Central Public Hall turned to the CBG when they identified the South End Menopause project would need help to continue supporting women locally. Thanks to support provided by Alpha Solway, the project has been able to reach more women in Shetland and now offers a wide range of resources.
Clackmannanshire Economic Regeneration Trust wanted to find organisations that could support them in providing pre-employability programmes for local people furthest removed from the job market. Through the CBG, Arco Ltd, offered to provide a mentoring and mock interview session, which received positive feedback from its participants.
Action for Children was able to utilise the CBG to identify a wide range of community needs across Scotland. They received bids from two NHS suppliers – Arco Ltd and Alpha Solway – offering to support three projects located in Dumfries and Galloway, Lanarkshire and Glasgow. These were: the Upper Nithsdale Family Service which supports children and their families by introducing them to a variety of beneficial leisure activities near Sanquhar; Youth Employability Project, who were able to recruit a trainer to help young people overcome barriers to employment in Glasgow; and Silverton Hub who were able to secure a community short breaks practitioner to support families with disabled children in Blantyre.