"It can’t truly happen without realising the core thing we’re trading is trust.”

Moray Wellbeing Hub CIC (MWH) is an innovative resource that supports the mental health of those living in the Moray community through its Champions. Using a social movement approach, MWH has over 200 Community Champions who sign up to a set of values and become peers of activism, supporting others through recovery and challenging stigma. Delivering self management training, formal and informal peer-support, wellness college courses and more, the enterprise arm of the organisation has huge ambitions for those living in its surrounding areas in terms of mental wellbeing and targeting stigma.

MWH also runs a Community Connectors project which sees people matched up with one another as peers whereby one person who may be further ahead in their recovery is put in place to support someone in need of support in their recovery journey.

The majority of the work of MWH is delivered in partnership. MWH works with the local Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP), other third sector organisations, Moray Third Sector Interface (tsiMORAY) and with the local council to deliver programmes and training. Heidi Tweedie, herself a Champion and Director at Moray Wellbeing Hub, is passionate about furthering integration and working with other organisations as a key goal.

Working with the local TSI as one of two IJB third sector representatives, Heidi has a role that enables her to move forward with goals for local people in managing their wellness. As such, MWH is responsible for supporting the local third sector health and wellbeing forum and bringing their experience to the table. With regards to ongoing work with the local HSCP, MWH works to develop the mental health and drugs and alcohol strategies, also putting at the forefront of this the voice of lived experience within the local Integration Joint Board’s (IJB) workings. The organisation is also on the HSCP’s Strategic Planning and Commissioning group, providing further opportunities to put in place integrated ways of working. This sees MWH working on health promotion campaigns around suicide and self management, for example. On a practical level, integration allows for premises to be provided to Moray Wellbeing Hub CIC to host events and occasional small funding is granted to support this.

Integration at MWH is an ongoing development and Heidi states that in some areas great progress is being made, whereas in others it can feel like that progress is stalling. What she points to is a greater need for essential elements of integration to be recognised: “It’s not about the integration of this service or that sector, it’s about people, people being brave enough. A lot of that is down to trust. It’s recognising we can’t have a transformed system, that it can’t truly happen, without realising the core thing we’re trading is trust.”

On building integrated teams, Heidi advises that relationship building with partners is key: “Be very clear in an agreement about the shared values, do so over a cup of tea, get to meet them, get a feel for them. The trust and relationship are more important than what is written on a piece of paper.”

But developing integration goes further than that, it also comes down to funding, says Heidi, and this needs to be recognised. Heidi is funding her current third sector representative role on the IJB through existing short-term funding, and that may not be possible after the first part of the new year. What she’s calling for is financial input from the Scottish Government to enable the third sector to have a robust and reliable place at the table.

The journey toward integration for Moray Wellbeing Hub CIC is one that provides insight for other third sector organisations. As Heidi says, “We need to change the system, we also need to reach the very top of where we can locally.” This not only requires good will, commitment and energy from all parties, it also requires financing in order to give the third sector the best opportunities to engage.

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