About the Health and Wellbeing Association

North Berwick Health & Wellbeing Association exists to promote healthy, active and fulfilling lives across all ages and to highlight inequalities resulting from age, ability, addiction, geographical isolation, gender, mental health issues, long-term health conditions, ethnic origin or financial stress.

The Health & Wellbeing Association is a constituted sub group of the North Berwick Coastal Area Partnership is the way local people, from across the whole community, can influence service planning and delivery in our area. The Area Partnership covers the North Berwick Coastal Ward including the towns of Aberlady, Gullane, Dirleton, Drem, North Berwick, Whitekirk and Kingston.

Membership of the H&WB Association is made up of representatives from agencies, organisations, groups and individuals from North Berwick and the surrounding villages interested in local health related issues. To get involved with the H&WB Association please visit this page or get in contact with the association here.

How do we work?

  • We work collaboratively to promote the best interests and well being of people who live, visit and work in North Berwick Coastal Ward Area Partnership both now and in the future
  • We respond to the health concerns expressed by the community, looking at new ways of doing things and collaborating across providers and informing the Area Partnership of issues affecting health and wellbeing in the North Berwick Coastal Ward Area
  • We seek to address health & wellbeing issues where these result in inequality.

Represented Groups

  • GP practice
  • The Day Centre
  • The Edington Hospital
  • Dementia Friendly East Lothian
  • RVS
  • The Youth Project
  • First Responders
  • North Berwick Volunteer Car Scheme

Co-Chairs: Dr Deborah Ritchie and Tillie Baird
East Lothian Council support: Sandra King

About our Co-Chairs

Dr Deborah Ritchie is a retired public health academic. She worked in health for 41 years. Her career included innovative nursing posts in community mental health. She started a community development project for health and developed participatory community approaches in Craigmillar in the 1980’s. She was involved in the first counselling project in primary care. She led developments in domestic violence, men’s health and HIV and AIDS.

After the Craigmillar Health Project she moved into NHS Lothian and developed one of the first mental health promotion projects in Scotland. As Deputy Director in Health Promotion she managed the sexual health team, community development team, drugs and alcohol team and mental health promotion.

The latter part of her career was an academic at the University of Edinburgh. Her research area was tobacco control and she has published over 40 papers and has presented at many international conferences. She has also trained as a gestalt psychotherapist and bereavement counsellor.

Since retirement she has volunteered in North Berwick Health and Wellbeing Association and volunteers for CRUSE.

Tillie Baird. Brought up in Yorkshire, I moved to Scotland in 1970 and have lived in North Berwick since 2006.
Trained as a teacher in London, I taught until moving to Scotland and, after having three sons, worked in the voluntary sector, supporting Playgroups, Family Centres and Homestart.

I developed Fife Regional Council’s Urban Programme for priority areas, working with people in the coal mining communities after the miners’ strike, to develop and support initiatives to redevelop the areas.
Then I managed the Council’s Social Needs Strategy, developing the One Stop Shop initiatives with Regional and District Council services all under one roof.

When the Unitary authorities were formed I took early retirement. John & I spent the next 10 years travelling, long distance and long term, taking our campervan round Europe, sailing our boat across America, riding the Greyhound buses and travelling round the world visiting such places as Nepal, Cambodia and Western Samoa.

The arrival of grandchildren cut the long-term travel.

In North Berwick I got involved in the Transition Town project, particularly the energy conservation and micro generation sections. I set up the Dementia Friendly business scheme with shops in the High Street – you will see the Forget-Me-Not logo in many of them.


Current Work

The H&WB association is currently working in the following areas:

  • The community involvement with East Lothian Council’s Integration Joint Board for Health & Social Care and the North Berwick Community Council on the proposed changes to health care in North Berwick (Re-provisioning) including changes to the Edington hospital and Abbey care home
  • Tackling loneliness and isolation
  • Promoting intergenerational activities
  • Support for mental health and addiction work
  • Support for people with dementia
  • Supporting community transport
  • Exploring issues around death and dying
  • Investigating tenants issues in housing for older people
  • Supporting village initiatives

For specific information on these ongoing projects please visit our Current Projects page.