Blog: NHS Health Scotland looks ahead to CIH Housing Festival

Matt Lowther

With only a week to go until the CIH Housing Festival of 2018, Matt Lowther said his NHS Health Scotland colleagues are in full swing as they embrace event planning.

Scotland’s biggest housing event returns to Edinburgh for 2018 and promises to be just as vibrant as previous festivals, as we consider the big issues for housing in an increasingly challenging environment.

This year, NHS Health Scotland has teamed up with CIH to plan and deliver a ‘health’ focus within the festival. We are excited to have had the opportunity to develop an entire work stream focusing on the vital role of housing on health and wellbeing. As a result, we have lined up a number of key speakers who will provide insight, ambition and inspiration for the contributions housing can make to improving health and reducing health inequalities. This will be delivered in the form of a keynote speech from Professor Sir Harry Burns and four breakout sessions on issues from childhood adversity to housing regeneration and from inequalities to public service reform. We will also have an input to the fringe events and will be hosting a stand at the exhibition where we hope to meet as many people as possible and share our knowledge and understanding of how health and housing colleagues can work together.

Matt, far right of second row back (in blue shirt) with his colleagues from NHS Health Scotland

Our involvement in planning this health theme of the CIH event comes as NHS Health Scotland has an increasing focus on housing and health. The concept of ‘place’ at the heart of health and wellbeing enables us to consider the role of housing in ensuring high quality, sustainable homes in communities where people feel connected and can access amenities which meet their needs. The ubiquitous nature of housing makes it a high priority for health and the importance of creating a ‘home’ from bricks and mortar focuses on much more than the walls within which we live.

Over the next year NHS Health Scotland will be taking forward a challenging programme of work to support and enable our housing colleagues in their contributions to health and reducing health inequalities. We will be working with Scottish Government to contribute to the revision of national policy and guidance; hosting regional events to bring together health and housing colleagues across Scotland; developing a suite of resources to support colleagues in policy and practice, and exploring how we can use a rights based approach to housing and improving health. This is a varied work programme and we will be engaging with many colleagues to ensure we are working towards shared vision and values. Please get in touch with Katrina Reid, Health Improvement Manager at if there is anything you would be interested to discuss further.

  • Matt Lowther is head of place and equity at NHS Health Scotland
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