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7 February 2023
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Publication of lessons learned from COVID-19 Community Champions programmes

A London-wide collection of case studies, documenting the valuable lessons learned from the COVID-19 Champions programmes across London, has been published today, capturing the experiences and insights relevant to ongoing health challenges.

The unprecedented challenge of the pandemic required us to respond in new ways, working together as never before. Between 2020-2022, thousands of Londoners signed up to be Community Champions, COVID-19 Champions and COVID-19 Vaccine Champions. Collaborating with local councils, NHS and voluntary and community sector organisations, they developed networks to share vital information about COVID-19 with their communities and support the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine programme.

Community Champions programmes took many forms across localities, and not only had a significant impact on the response to the pandemic, but also helped transform the way that councils, the NHS and others engage with and listen to communities. This connection extended to improved lines of communication between health sytems leaders in London and local partners, influencing emerging policy and practice. Much learning emerged too from the collective experience on the ground, that enabled areas to collaborate around specific communities and community challenges.

The Champions programmes across London showed how important – and possible – it is for councils, the NHS and others to engage directly, openly and regularly with communities. As we move forward in our recovery phase, this new model of community engagement must continue to evolve if we are to achieve health outcomes and equity in the priorities and challenges facing us today.

‘Transformations in Community Collaboration: Lessons from COVID-19 Champions across London’ has been launched to capture the learning from Champions programmes during the pandemic, as a celebration of all that has been achieved and an important reference for anyone working to improve health and health equity in London.

The publication includes 27 case studies, documenting champions and associated community engagement activities across 30 London boroughs, from the beginning of the pandemic to early autumn 2022.

Ruth Hutt, Co Chair of ADPH London and Director of Public Health at Lambeth said:

“The Community Champions compendium is an important resource for our collective learning about the power of community enablement in helping us engage meaningfully with our diverse communities.

“We know that Community Champions programmes have had a profound impact on how we think about public health responses and how we work collectively as statutory bodies with communities to enable better, more equitable health.

“These types of conversations and approaches are critical to achieving the type of transformation in health services and health care, that we know is needed to reduce the health inequalities that are pervasive across London.

“We hope that many colleagues from across London’s councils and the NHS will join the Community Partners Development Programme so that we can continue to evolve and build a whole system approach across London in this important area.”

Community Partners Development Programme

London’s health partners, the Association of Directors of Public Health London (ADPH), Office of Health Improvement and Disparities London (OHID), UK Health Security Agency London (UKHSA), Greater London Assembly (GLA) and London Councils are launching the Community Champions Development Programme.

The programme builds on what we’ve learned from the past two years of the COVID-19 Champions Co-ordinators programme and is open to anyone who is leading and / or delivering two-way conversations between local government, the NHS and communities.

We are looking for colleagues from across London councils and the NHS to participate in the programme. The time commitment is approximately 2 hours a month. Please email for more details.

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