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07 May 2015
Bedford is to get its first community health champion to drive improvements in health among residents of some of the most disadvantaged areas of the town.
The community health champion will be based at London Road Health Centre working with GPs, nurses and other staff. As a healthy role model at the heart of the local community, the community health champion will help people take control of their own health, directing them to established programmes such as stopping smoking, weight management and healthy eating and encouraging prevention measures such as flu vaccination.
The health champion will also be able to signpost people to practical help such as debt counselling and benefits advice and develop and nurture new community support groups which will reach out to people who feel isolated
The project has received funding for one year from BIG Local, following a successful application by London Road Health Centre with support from Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Bedford Borough Council.
The role has now been advertised and the new community health champion is expected to be in post by summer 2015.
Bedford GP Dr John Kedward said:
“This role can have a real impact on reducing health inequalities which can adversely affect the most vulnerable people, including those who are disadvantaged, have a disability, unemployed, on a low income or in minority ethnic communities. We also want to help people who are at risk of social isolation and ensure they get support to improve their health and mental well-being. We are very excited at the prospect of having a local community health champion and grateful to BIG Local for making the project possible.”