Why we need Community Wellbeing Champions

The Community Wellbeing Champions are essential in our work to support and improve the health and wellbeing of the residents of Leicester.

Residents of Leicester on average have poorer physical and mental health and wellbeing than residents in many other places across England, with some community groups within the city being worse off than others. Our city has also been through a tough time during the Coronavirus pandemic, with some of our communities again being amongst those hardest-hit by Covid-19.

Avoidable differences in how the people of Leicester are affected by health and wellbeing issues are known as health inequities. These health inequities were around before the coronavirus pandemic and work has been done to help address them. However, the impact of Covid-19 on our communities has highlighted just how deeply health inequities affect the people of Leicester and how important it is for us all to work even harder to overcome them.

One of the reasons for health inequities is that many people and communities are still not being fully heard and understood when it comes to their health and wellbeing needs and the barriers that they face in having those needs met. Another reason for the differences in rates of poor health across the population is that when it comes to promoting services and giving out important health messages, some of the people and communities that need that information the most are still not being reached.

That is why we have set up the Community Wellbeing Champions Network. We know that there are many Voluntary, Community, and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector organisations, businesses, trusted local figures, and other passionate individuals that are already championing better health and wellbeing for the people of Leicester. Our aim with the Community Wellbeing Champions Network is to better connect with and support these organisations and individuals in their efforts, and to forge closer links between the work that we do in Public Health and the work that these champions do in their communities. This way, we can all be more effective in reaching and hearing the residents of Leicester, gain a better understanding of the needs and barriers for communities and groups that experience the worst health, and use this understanding to strengthen the fight against health inequities.