Commissioning community champions: Lessons from a pandemic

Commissioning community champions: Lessons from a pandemic COVER

This King’s Fund report explores the role and potential of champions programmes, a community-based approach to health and wellbeing, focussing in particular on the lessons learned from the time of the pandemic.

Commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID), the report found that there were a number of ways in which community champions programmes could add value at a local level. These included:

  • supporting engagement with communities to share information, collect insight and support collaboration
  • building trust with and between communities, public health and wider stakeholders
  • increasing the capacity and capability to engage with and support public health within the community.

It also found that during Covid-19, community champions added particular value in being able to engage with communities that have previously been perceived to be invisible from the existing public health and engagement processes of statutory bodies. Such community-centred approaches played a vital role in minimising the health and social impact of the pandemic. 

Drawing on the lessons, the report stipulates it is important that leaders of integrated care systems, local authorities and public health embed the role of community-led approaches in key strategies and plans. This will ensure the continued contribution and support of community-centred approaches in building community engagement and trust, and help to better championing the health and wellbeing needs of communities, as well as potential future health threats.