Agenda item


The report provides an update on the Community (COVID-19) Champions Programme in Surrey.





Jenn Smith - Senior Public Health Lead (SCC)


Key points raised in the discussion:


1.   The Senior Public Health Lead (SCC) noted:


Phase One


·         that the Community Champions programme was established in November 2020, having been introduced to Surrey County Council by the Board’s Chairman.

·         currently nine out of the eleven Boroughs and Districts in Surrey had either fully or partially launched their programme, Tandridge District Council had not shown an interest to engage and talks were ongoing with Woking Borough Council.

·         there were dedicated coordinators, one per Borough or District.

·         there were around two hundred and fifty Community Champions, each having a wide network across Surrey with some having a large social media following.

·         the information provided to Community Champions such as the weekly briefing was circulated widely across communities and the feedback loop from community engagement was important, questions asked by Community Champions were always answered. 

·         the steering group was composed of all the coordinators, public health and guest speakers from the ICSs.

·         the Boroughs and Districts were asked to provide a webinar, the frequency was mixed across Surrey.

·         following evaluation and engagement with the coordinators, key challenges included:

-       Community Champion fatigue with less feedback being provided as a result of moving to Covid-19 recovery.

-       dwindling Community Champion attendance at webinars.

-       gaps in representation for some demographics which was being addressed through recruitment.

-       a disparity in programme delivery which was partly positive as it was tailored to local populations.

-       a lack of monitoring and evaluation due to existing work. commitments and the dynamic nature of the pandemic.

·         Strengths included:

-       strong organisational support for the programme.

-       the dedicated and engaged coordinators and Community Champions.

-       the huge potential to widen the scope of the programme.


Phase Two


·      the newly recruited Project Support Officer (SCC), who introduced herself. 

·      the intention to expand the reach to new settings and communities, such as mental health, learning disabilities and workplace settings; and to work closely with local parish councils.

·      that the phase would be planned next week with the Programme Manager - Covid-19 (SCC), and would include a large recruitment drive and training for the Community Champions, bringing in aspects of Making Every Contact Count, developing an evaluation framework, a communications plan to advertise the programme and to expand the scope to focus on winter wellness by encouraging the flu vaccinations and Covid-19 boosters and to promote screening programmes.

2.    The Chairman welcomed the Project Support Officer (SCC); and asked how the Board could support the programme in terms of reaching out to Community Champions and supporting their engagement.

-     In response, the Senior Public Health Lead (SCC) highlighted the importance of raising the profile of the Community Champions programmes across Surrey, noting the two cohorts in Elmbridge with community volunteers and councillors - with future proposals to be brought to the Board.

3.   The Chairman welcomed the report which was in response to an action from the June Informal Board meeting concerning: 

-       Minute item 21/21: 4. A written update will be provided at a future Board summarising the strengths and weaknesses of the Community (COVID) Champions programme across the county and a possible model template that could be provided to Borough and District Councils without the programme.

4.    The Chairman provided an update on an action from the June Informal Board:

-        Minute item 21/21: 3. Board members will provide support as appropriate to helping with the recruitment of Champions across the county and the removal of the barriers in relation to the setting up of the Community (COVID) Champions programmes in Woking and Tandridge.

-     The Chairman would engage with Environmental Health Officers at Woking Borough Council following up their interest in establishing the programme there.

-     In response, she noted that she had engaged with Woking Borough Council having written to the political leadership there to offer support in terms of linking in programme officers within the Public Health team (SCC) with Environmental Health Officers at Woking Borough Council.

-     The Senior Public Health Lead (SCC) noted that the Programme Manager - Covid-19 (SCC) had been liaising positively with the EHOs.

5.   The Chairman noted that for the next update to the Board, the recommendations in future reports would be tailored specifically around the Community Champions programme.  


RESOLVED: (informally)

The Board:

1.      Noted the report.

2.      Would continue to lead the engagement with local communities and be the public face of the local response.

3.      Members would ensure appropriate information on the programme and on COVID-19 in Surrey is cascaded within their own organisations and areas of influence.


Actions/further information to be provided:

1.      The Board will receive a future update on Phase 2 of the programme, including future proposals such as different cohorts of Community Champions; and in future reports the recommendations will be tailored specifically around the Community Champions programme. 



Supporting documents: