About the Community Health Ambassador (CHA) programme
Community Health Ambassadors (CHA) help us to effectively engage and involve local people in the planning, development and commissioning of health services – with a particular focus on engaging people from minority, marginalised and disadvantaged groups and communities.
Since 2015, we have worked in partnership with Catalyst Stockton-on-Tees to recruit and manage a team of CHA volunteers who represent a wide range of communities from across all areas of the Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees localities including those with learning difficulties/disabilities and their carers, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT+) communities, people living with sensory impairments, people without housing, older people, ex-offenders, faith groups, mental health and more.
Ambassadors are encouraged to provide feedback and recommendations that are solution focussed, allowing us to provide a practical response to concerns and issues; whilst also providing a real opportunity to improve patient experience when accessing health services.
The CHAs are a mix of employees and community volunteers who both make the most of their existing relationships via personal and professional networks to provide feedback to us on key priorities as required. The ambassadors are also kept up to date with current projects, campaigns and changes to NHS services so that they can share this information with their communities. The role is very flexible without a strict time commitment expected and therefore the level of input from individual volunteers can vary.
The CHA Programme was nominated for the NECS Commissioning Awards 2016 and was Highly Commended in the ‘Excellence in Public Involvement’ category. A range of inclusive communication methods are used to ensure ambassadors and the wider publics’ diverse requirements are accommodated including:
Internal – Support, feedback and guidance:
- Regular meetings (currently taking place via Zoom)
- Social media groups
External – Communication, feedback and promotion:
- Online surveys (and printed where necessary)
- Printed/digital materials including leaflets, business cards, pens, banners, ID Badges etc.
- Website and public Twitter/Facebook pages
- Public events/stalls
- Local printed press
- Catalyst mailing lists and e-bulletin
- CHA Volunteers’ networks, friends/family and community groups
Interested in becoming a member? Please get in touch with Heather Sykes for more information.