Altogether Better is an award winning model that uses Community Health Champions to create a new, participatory relationship between citizens and services in primary care, A&E, and other clinical and community settings.
Altogether Better supports individuals from the community to become volunteer Health Champions, who then organise and facilitate non-medical groups and activities, and can provide peer support for patients.
Academic evaluation of the approach has shown that the Champions influence change on multiple levels – building their own skills and experiences but also sharing this learning with patients, leading to better self-management, increased engagement and reduced reliance on services.
Their ‘Communities of Practice’ bring together Champions and services and it is in these conversations that citizens participate and influence in an unprecedented way. Being from the community and volunteering within services, they transfer knowledge into the system. The Champions help to increase the service’s knowledge of community issues and assets, and they identify opportunities for redesign.
This example was originally featured in the 'Six principles for people and communities: Putting them into practice' published by the People and Communities Board, with support from National Voices.