Health Champions: Volunteer Role Descriptions





Gillingham Medical Practice (GMP) is a friendly practice that serves over 13,000 patients from Gillingham and the surrounding villages. It is part of The Vale Primary Care Network, working with the Blackmore Vale Partnership (BVP) to deliver an enhanced level of patient care. GMP has two surgeries based at The Barn and at Peacemarsh.

Health Champions are local people who volunteer to give their time to support staff at the Practice to help meet the non-clinical health and wellbeing needs of its patients. Health Champions can help to reduce isolation and loneliness of patients, whilst supporting them with learning to live with a long-term condition. As a result, this can mean that some patients need to see their GP less often.

You’ll be joining an established network of Health Champions who are friendly, supportive, knowledgeable, and welcoming. Additionally, you will be actively guided by the Wellbeing Team here at the Practice.


Who are we looking for?

  • Local people registered with GMP, over the age of 18 years old, from all backgrounds and walks of life,
  • Have an interest and a willingness to help and make a difference to patients’ lives,
  • Good listeners and empathic.
  • Respectful and non-judgmental.

We will value everyone and recognise that everybody has different skills they can bring and contribute to the role of a Health Champion.


Outline of key roles

There are a variety of different roles that Health Champions carry out. You might be happy with one specific task, or you might like a mix. The choice is yours!


Many people benefit from the support of a befriender at a time of change in their life, or when they are socially isolated due to illness or old age. Not everyone has someone to listen to them and converse with. This role is about listening to the patient and providing a supportive relationship.

In this role you would:

  • Visit a patient in their home for a chat, and perhaps a cup of tea,
  • In some cases, you might accompany them to a medical appointment or an activity (such as a trip to a café, shopping etc).

Assisting at the Wellbeing One Stop Clinic:

This is a clinic held at Gillingham Library every three weeks and is generally aimed at patients over 65-years-old, who are considered to be frail. However, we are trialling widening the clinic to invite carers and the recently bereaved, who we think would also benefit from the clinic. At the clinic, patients have access to several healthcare professionals, including practitioners who conduct a health assessment, check blood pressure, and if appropriate, give advice on maintaining and improving mobility; as well as a Pharmacy Technician and Social Prescriber (to help with social wellbeing). Other organisations are also usually present to provide advice and assistance - such as Age UK, Healthwatch Dorset, and Carer Support Dorset.

In this role you would:

  • Assist with the smooth running of the clinic by helping the Practice staff to set-up the clinic,
  • Make patients feel welcome and reassure them if they are feeling anxious or nervous,
  • Help patients to navigate the clinic by ensuring they see all available healthcare professionals, as well as any other organisations they wish to see,
  • Assist with making refreshments,
  • Ensure the patients complete the Wellbeing One Stop Clinic feedback questionnaire,
  • Build a relationship with the clinical team and organisations attending the clinic.

Assisting at other events:

Gillingham has lots of clubs and activities on offer, such as Coffee Companions, Carer’s Catch-Ups, Eden Café etc. You might wish to attend these events, perhaps help to facilitate the smooth running of them, and lend a listening ear.

  • Coffee Companions is for anyone who might want a cuppa and a chat and is held twice weekly at Gillingham Library on Tuesday’s and Waitrose Café on Thursdays.
  • Carer’s Catch-Up is a space for carers to meet and talk to other carers who are experiencing similar circumstances, thoughts, and feelings. It is held fortnightly at Gillingham Library.
  • Eden Café is a twice weekly event held at the Vicarage Old Schoolroom in Gillingham.

Becoming a Digital Health Champion:

Do you have an interest in technology and patience to help other people access apps such as the NHS App or other self-care apps?  May patients are being signposted to use specific apps to help manage their   health conditions.  Training will be provided by our friendly Digital Care Coordinator.


What are the benefits of becoming a Health Champion?

You will make a difference to patients’ lives by reducing loneliness for older people or those who are socially isolated, as well as helping to improve their quality of life. It will also provide the opportunity to make new friends over a common purpose, increase your confidence, and learn new skills.


Who to contact for more information

If you are interested in becoming a Health Champion, please contact The Wellbeing Team on 01747 834337.


Alternative Volunteering Opportunities

There are other volunteering opportunities available at the surgery, and although volunteers specifically for these roles are not considered to be Health Champions, there is some cross-over in that some of these volunteers are also Health Champions.

Patient Participation Group (PPG):

The PPG is a group of patients of all ages working voluntarily in partnership with Gillingham Medical Practice to enable the Practice team to provide services that reflect what patients want and need.

The PPG meet with Practice staff to learn about new developments at the surgery, to discuss current issues of concern, and areas for improvement to ensure that Gillingham Medical Practice continues to provide a high-quality primary care service.

PPG members do not have to attend every meeting as there is a Steering Group that oversees the work of the PPG, which you can choose to be part of or not depending on how much you would like to be involved.

What do they do?

  • Maintain good relationships between patients and Practice staff
  • Enable patients and Practice to share their views about services available at the Practice
  • Promote positive public health messages and lifestyle choices

Volunteers for vaccination clinics:

We have a pool of volunteers who help at vaccination clinics, such as for seasonal flu and Covid-19. 

For more information on volunteering for either the PPG or vaccination clinics, please contact The Wellbeing Team on 01747 834337.