What are community-led health organisations?

CHEX is often asked to explain what are the characteristics of a community-led health organisation.  image of mens group

The special characteristics common to CLH organisations s are: 

  • operating in areas of poverty and deprivation
  • providing services aimed at tackling health inequalities
  • working on priorities identified by members of the community
  • using methods which involve community members
  • applying a value base that promotes personal and collective empowerment, equity, social justice and the right to good health for all people
  • working within a social model of health
  • with governance that involves community members (this may be in partnership with the voluntary, statutory or business sector if appropriate) 
  • sharing resources
  • providing a collective voice   

Healthy Living Centres

image of hlcHealthy Living Centres (HLCs) were established by the New Opportunities Fund (now Big Lottery Fund) in 1999, creating 352 HLCs in the UK.  There were initially 46 HLCs in Scotland. 

As of January 2011, there are 26 HLCs still operating in Scotland, these HLC's employ over 300 staff, involve 2000 active volunteers and engage over 100,000 beneficiaries each year.



Their work is currently leading the way in establishing community-led approaches to health improvement and reducing health inequalities in 26 communities of greatest need across Scotland. HLC's are supported by the Scottish Healthy Living Centre Alliance.