Who are our Community Ambassadors?

Community Ambassadors are volunteers who help the Sussex Health and Care Partnership to understand what is important to local people and make sure local health and care services fit the needs of our population.

Through a robust selection process in September 2020, 15 Community Ambassadors were originally recruited (6 in Brighton and Hove, 4 in East Sussex, and 5 in West Sussex).

In October 2021, a further 6 Community Ambassadors, specifically from ethnically diverse communities, were recruited (1 in East Sussex, 3 in Brighton and Hove, and 2 in West Sussex) were recruited.

Our Community Ambassadors offer a diverse range of perspectives and experiences from different communities across Sussex. Each volunteer makes a valuable contribution by giving their time, skills, energy, enthusiasm and commitment to ensure that patients are at the heart of our services.

What do they do?

There are three Community Ambassador roles:

Engagement

Community Ambassadors (Engagement) work in the local community trying to connect with people and speak to them about health and care services in their area to find out their views. Community Ambassadors share local health messages and topics of conversation with their community in person, through existing networks, online and via social media.

Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion

Also working in the local community, our Ambassadors for Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion are particularly trying to reach out to communities who experience greater health inequalities such as; homeless people, people with a disability and people from ethnically diverse communities.

Strategic

Community Ambassadors (Strategic) do office-based work, giving advice and support to NHS programmes across Sussex, and helping to make decisions about health and care services.

What is it like to be an Ambassador?

“Being a Community Ambassador is a great way to help make a difference, learn a lot and gain experience as you go. You feel like you are in a genuine partnership.”

“I love being a Community Ambassador as I get the chance to improve services for others by using my critical voice to constructively challenge perceived wisdom. Being a Community Ambassador allows me to contribute to discussions around improving the quality of services for others and I gain real insight into how the health systems works”.

“Being a Community Ambassador has been rewarding, allowing me to use my business expertise and patient experience to help redefine and improve NHS services to support patients. Only those with a voice in a receptive ear will be heard!”

“Being a Community Ambassador has been difficult during the pandemic coming to terms with meetings via Microsoft Teams but it has been valuable to listen to the problems of our NHS and for them to listen seriously to a member of the public”.

What have our Community Ambassadors done?

Our Community Ambassadors have undertaken a range of activities to help influence the services provided locally in Sussex. Community Ambassadors have:

  • Been active participants in eight interview panels for staff within the Sussex NHS Commissioners, providing an independent perspective on the panels
  • Undertaken research on the views of ethnically diverse communities on the flu vaccine and identified solutions to support the flu vaccination campaign and COVID-19 immunisation programme
  • Worked in partnership to develop a questionnaire for the pre-consultation engagement for the Cardiology and Ophthalmology Services in East Sussex – over 200 questionnaires were completed by patients
  • Worked collaboratively to design two questionnaires as part of the engagement with service users and practitioners for the Brighton and Hove Mental Health Accommodation tendering process
  • Supported the development of the materials for the pre-consultation engagement for Stroke redesign in West Sussex, including the narrative, Communications and Engagement Plan, Patient Survey Questions