Community Food and Health (Scotland) 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.
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. CFHS is now a part of the PHS Diet, Physical Activity and Healthy Weight team.
CFHS is currently working with the Scottish Government, community food networks and our colleagues in Public Health Scotland to plan how the community food sector can be supported in the future.