What are volunteer health champions?
Our champions are active local people, involved in their local community, who have an interest or passion for helping people to maintain or improve their health and wellbeing.
What do we mean by “community?”
A community, small or large, is any social group that has something in common. Your ‘communities’ may be your faith group, an organisation where you meet people from the same cultural background, or similar life experiences (a Mums group or an older people’s social group)-it’s those places where you feel you “belong”. It could be where you work, place of education or online.
For some of our current champions it is the ‘community’ that is the patients of their GP surgery.
How have volunteers been championing health and wellbeing?
Our champions have received training and support to;
- understand the basics about local healthcare services
- know what to do if they have concerns about the safety of anyone they speak to
- share information about local services in different formats and in different places, (online, posters and leaflets, at their GP surgery, with friends, family and people that they undertake activities with (like the walking group they belong to) and where they work
- find information to ‘signpost’ people to - places, websites and apps
What services have they learnt about?
Services that are provided by statutory organisations like the NHS and Public Health alongside services, large and small, provided by voluntary organisations and other community groups.
What have health champions been doing?
- Lots of different things depending on their own communities
- Sharing what they have learnt, informally amongst their friends, family and their community; “musicians”, “neighbours”, “16 – 18 year olds” “my patient group”, “with others in my walking group” “my support group”
- Sharing useful information more formally with others at their GP surgery, in their community group, their workplace and on their community website.
- Helping to get information out about a range of services through newsletters, posters and flyers, noticeboards, online and face to face.
- Working with practice staff to plan and run a stand in the surgery to promote ‘Self Care Week’
We are currently recruiting more health champions to join the programme
This could be as a health champion at your GP surgery or as an existing volunteer or member of a community. You will attend an induction training session, receive information and have the opportunity to meet up with other champions.
We are also offering the (optional) opportunity to undertake a free 1 day training session - Public Health Level 2 Award in Understanding Health Improvement. This is an accredited course aimed at those undertaking a health promotion role, looking to tackle inequality and/ or support people to make healthy choices)
Could health champions promote what my group are doing to support people to be healthier and happier?
Yes!! If you are involved with a group or organisation that is offering any activities that support health and wellbeing then we would be keen to share the details with our champions.