Community Champions and Ambassadors from across South East London were celebrated at a House of Lords event this week.
The event organised was by Community Champions Development Programme, which brings together colleagues from across London Councils and the NHS who are doing direct engagement with residents around health, as part of the Association of Directors Public Health London.
The House of Lords reception, hosted by Rt Hon the Baroness Armstrong of Hilltop, brought together representatives from all 32 London boroughs to celebrate their contribution to improving health outcomes in their respective communities over the past four years.
For SEL ICB, it was a great opportunity to acknowledge the impactful work community champions and ambassadors have been doing in south east London, including their role in the COVID-19 and flu vaccine programmes.
In Southwark, community ambassadors also helped with the Health Van (in collaboration with Southwark Council) at community events, such as for World Cancer Day, improving vaccine uptake and to promote women’s health. Here, the contribution of community ambassadors was invaluable, volunteering to engage with the public, signposting people to available services, as well as take on their feedback through surveys.
The event also shone a much-needed light on the brilliant role of volunteers and volunteering in supporting communities to take ownership of their health and wellbeing.
Hajia Saidat, Southwark community health ambassador said, “I enjoy being a Southwark community health ambassador, because it is important for the health and wellbeing of my community and I love to help make a difference everyday. I believe prevention is better than cure.”
On the night, Baroness Armstrong of Hilltop acknowledged the hard work London’s champions has put in during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but warned that the work is never finished. She said, “there is always another thing that you need to work on in your communities to give them confidence, to give them knowledge, to give them the information that they can use in order to keep themselves, their family and their community safe.”
Representatives from the Mayor of London’s office were also in attendance, including Debbie Weekes-Bernard, London’s Deputy Mayor for Communities & Social Justice. She said, “The Community Champions programme is one of the best examples of collaboration between organisations that have been seeking to do really important work, like the GLA, the NHS, Public Health, local councils, VCS and people.”
More information on how to sign up for our Community Champions/Ambassadors Programmes in your borough below: