Edinburgh Community Health Forum’s COVID Reponse Final Report

Since May 2020, Matter of Focus and Edinburgh Community Health Forum (ECHF) have been working together to capture the experiences and learning from Forum members as they responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.

One Parent Families Scotland is a member of ECHF.



Established over 20 years ago, the Edinburgh Community Health Forum’s (ECHF) primary aim is to be a voice and network for organisations that work to reduce health inequalities and improve long-term health outcomes in Edinburgh.

Matter of Focus is a mission-led company based in Edinburgh. We work with organisations, projects and programmes to explore, map, analyse and assess the outcomes that matter to them, the people and populations they care about, and their funders.

Matter of focus and ECHF have captured the experiences and learning from forum members through:

  • telephone interviews
  • reflective practice
  • collective analysis sessions
  • analysis of relevant documents.

As a member of ECHF, our positive work has been highlighted, in particular the work of the OPFS Edinburgh service.


The findings and stories shared in this report show the incredibly valuable contribution of Edinburgh
Community Health Forum members to the COVID-19 response.

The reports from Forum members show that they were able to act quickly and collaboratively to keep people safe and meet their most basic needs, and to sustain many of their long-standing services and supports. The report highlights the breadth of work carried out by these organisations, the agility and creativity with which they responded and the important role they played in filling gaps in services.

Key factors stand out as enabling this effective response by ECHF member organisations:

  • The strong relationships between the community health organisations and the
    communities they support.
  • Their commitment to reaching everyone in their communities and making sure ‘no-one
    fell through the cracks’.
  • Their agility and creativity, supported by the trust and flexibility of their funders.
  • The existing relationships between the Forum members and local partners that enabled
    them to collaborate effectively and rapidly.


  1. Forum members continue to share their learning as they embed new ways of working and
    contribute to COVID-19 recovery, e.g. through a series of collective analysis workshops or other
    regular meetings.
  2. Forum members use analysis of their contribution, as well as the context and issues affecting their
    communities, to identify gaps in service provision and opportunities for additional collaborations.
  3. Forum leadership work with statutory partners to share the value of the Forum’s contribution,
    learning about the strengths and challenges of service responses to COVID-19 and identify areas
    for improvement in services, and referral pathways.
  4. Forum leadership work with funders to share benefits and outcomes from flexible, responsive,
    funding to community health organisations.
  5. Forum members to share learning from this evaluation with partners and stakeholders to continue
    to galvanise leadership and shared learning about service adaptation, responsiveness, emergency
    support, and a coherent, joined-up, offer to communities.

Click on the link below to view the full report.

Download The contribution of Edinburgh Community Health Forum to the COVID-19 response

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