PCHP is Scotland’s oldest community health project, and was set up in 1984 following a period of research and campaigning by a group of local women.
We have a well-established and respected history of work in North West Edinburgh, which is one of the most deprived areas in Scotland. 1 in 4 children in the Forth ward live in poverty, and our services continue to provide an essential lifeline for many local families. Our vision is for equality, well-being and belonging for all in our communities, and we endeavour to provide services that are accessible and respond to local needs.
The establishment of the project was a truly revolutionary idea at that time. As the founder Jane Jones states, “The roots of the PCHP lie in the women’s health movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. This movement challenged the nature and priorities of the health service and re-framed the meaning of health to include social and political dimensions.” As a WEA tutor, Jane formed a strong group of community activists aiming to address health and well-being issues using a community development framework. Jane and another activist named Robert Blaikie organised the Scottish Women’s Health Fair in 1983, and presented the views of women from areas of Edinburgh with high levels of health inequalities to a committee at the Scottish Health Education group. The chair of this committee, a doctor named Sir John Crofton, helped the women to fund and establish a small local health project within a doctor’s surgery the following year.
The project grew from these grassroots beginnings into the influential and multidimensional project it is today. Jane explained that “the amount of time and commitment, and good humour from people in Pilton cannot be overestimated – they supported the work, created local services and sustained it for all these years. Individuals spoke at national conferences, were invited to seminars and meetings throughout the UK, helped other groups to form, and produced various publications and videos.” In this way, PCHP is a project that is truly embedded in the local community, and service users, volunteers and staff are all integral to its continued success.