The Health Champions scheme is part of the Well London programme, which Manor House Development Trust has managed since 2009.Through structured training and volunteering programmes, the Champions have gained the confidence to take over the Well London activities, fundraising themselves and in some cases, starting up their own businesses.
The aim of Well London has been to help residents take control of their health and wellbeing. The Champions are active members of the community who volunteer to become health ambassadors. They have received training in first aid, money management, food hygeine and completed an NVQ Level 2 training in health promotion. As part of the training, they were required to complete volunteer placements with a number of community groups and local organisations.
The Health Champions have proven pivotal to the spread of information across the estate and referrals to health services. However, as an unexpected outcome, the Champions have assured the legacy of many of the Well London activities, as many of them have taken the lead on running them post-funding. Some of these include:
- The Community Choir
- The Luncheon Club: this is now running as a business, providing catering to high profile events
- The Woodberry Down Community Garden: now constituted group managing
Speaking to some of the Champions about what has inspired such commitment, they had this to say:
Gloria (was a Health Champion who has since been employed as the PACT Communications Officer) said: “The training programme required 4 hours of our time over 12 months. I think this meant we really committed to the project, and after so long going to these great activities, we didn’t want them to end.”
Joelle (who is on the Board of the Community Garden) said: “I came to the Well London project with a poor diet, low confidence and I never exercised. The course helped me to set goals for my life and that’s when I joined the Community Garden. We meet regularly to keep the garden going. I love it because I used to grow things and I get to make friends and spend time with my family”.