Waltham Forest Youth Health Champions programme
The Waltham Forest Youth Health Champion programme gives young people the skills to act as peer mentors and has trained over 340 young people, with each champion having the potential to reach around 100 other young people, making the collective reach in the thousands.
The champions have worked on many health and wellness schemes that have positively impacted the wider community, including: collecting one tonne of food for a food bank; running a Violence Against Women and Girls campaign called ‘Stop the Silence’, which won a RSPH award; and supporting the mental health campaign ‘Forest Minds’, which won a team London runner up award.
The project is funded by the local authority, who work with schools to identify students to become champions. Once identified the young people (from age 14) join a two-day training program where they undertake the Royal Society of Public Health qualification for young health champions, and the training leads to an assessment for either the RSPH Level 2 Certificate for Young Health Champions, which is equivalent to a GCSE (13QCF credits) or theRSPH Level 1 Health Improvement Award.
Key benefits of the scheme include: allowing young people to be more in control of their health and wellbeing decisions, allowing young people to support their peers, boosting the confidence of those who participate, and much more.