Agenda item

Community Champions Programme


The Committee agreed to bring forward item 7 (i).


Members received a presentation on the Epping Forest Community Champions Programme from Community Health and Wellbeing Senior Community Engagement Officer, P Arnold, and Community and Grants Officer, L Walton.


The aim of the programme was to build on the skills and knowledge of local people to create positive cohesion in the District’s local communities. This could be achieved by developing partnerships with the local voluntary sector through the recruitment and training of community champions.


The Community Health and Wellbeing team were preferably looking for individuals, already well-connected in the local community, and who were:


·      over 18 years old;

·      passionate about where they lived;

·      able to build strong community connections;

·      happy to support and promote fun days and community events;

·      willing to share information about local services within their area; and

·      able to promote useful health improvement information with their community.


The Council’s Community Health and Wellbeing team would be able to provide extra support and information to these community champions. This would help them develop their skills, so they could help to deliver community programmes and provide feedback to the Community Health and Wellbeing team. One such annual community programme was the successful ‘stay well this winter’ campaign.


One of the challenges for the Health and Wellbeing team was to visit the various parishes within the District to promote health and wellbeing. Whereas the team might not return for another two years to a particular parish, the community champions would be ideally placed as an important local and focal point of contact. Currently four community champions had been recruited but more were being sought. It was hoped that both District and local councillors might know of suitable individuals within their wards and parishes.


A members question and answer session followed.


Councillor B Scruton asked how much time would a champion need to commit to this role? P Arnold replied that the commitment should last at least two years. Potential champions should quite naturally be doing this in their local community already, and so this should not be an arduous task to take on.


Councillor D Wixley remarked that he was not familiar with this programme and that parish councillors would probably be ideal candidates. Had the Health and Wellbeing team promoted this though local councils? P Arnold replied that champions were being sought if possible from outside the councillor environment and that publicity information and brochures would be distributed soon. Councillor E Webster added that District councillors had not received this publicity either.


Councillor C Feetham asked, was this a voluntary role? Also what times would champions be required to be available because if it was during evenings, then recruitment might prove to be more difficult. P Arnold replied that the first meeting would be held in October 2018 when the availability of those attending would be discussed. The support of the champions on other projects would also be discussed.


Councillor C C Pond referred to the ‘stay well this winter’ campaign that had received funding from the West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, and that it might be useful to have a ‘keep well this summer’ promotion to help people cope with the hotter summer months and the dilution of air quality. P Arnold noted this suggestion and advised that ‘stay well this winter’ would be promoted shortly, as there would be events and sessions taking place in the District this November. The public would need to book to attend these sessions.


The Chairman thanked the Community Health and Wellbeing officers for addressing the meeting.