The Health Universities for Healthy Communities project brought students and staff from Scottish universities together with voluntary and community sector organisations and members of the local community to explore how we can work towards improving the health and wellbeing (HWB) of Scottish people. This project aimed to create better understandings of how universities can promote and support HWB where we learn, work, live and play. To achieve this goal requires collective efforts from key stakeholders (community members, community leaders, third sector services, students, academic and professional services staff, policy makers, designers, and health and social care service providers) to co-create practical ideas alongside recommendations for policy and practice, based on current evidence and the experiences of those involved. This important work aimed to help identify organisational strengths across Scottish universities in a variety of contexts and urban/rural settings, and areas for development led by local communities.
The project team, in partnership with a diversity of stakeholders, facilitated the embedding of healthy universities in cooperative, interdependent relationships with their communities to inform decision-making in relation to HWB policies and strategies. By bringing together a range of expertise from various people living in Scotland, this created opportunities for critical dialogue to promote different ways of working, foster innovation in everyday contexts of HWB, while strengthening the cooperative efforts, impact and reach of our universities.