Community Connectors Programme: Sharing Lived Experience and Shaping Services

Published on: August 3, 2023

The Community Connectors Programme is a volunteering opportunity for people living in Southend who have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or care for someone with COPD. Community Connectors are people who want to help improve care services and reduce health inequalities so that everyone can live well together.

The programme is designed to gain a deeper understanding of the lived experience of those living with COPD when accessing support and living a healthier life. It is also an opportunity to share what works well. Community Connectors will engage with members of the public, health services and decision-makers to help shape the future of services that are needed within the local community.

This programme forms part of the national drive to reduce health inequalities focusing on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Delivery will be focused in the following wards in Southend; Milton, Kursaal, Victoria, Westborough Shoeburyness and West Shoebury.

Community Connectors will have the opportunity to share knowledge and also gain knowledge and new skills through training workshops and coaching support.

This initiative will be delivered through the Community Connectors Programme; a project delivered in partnership with Southend Association of Voluntary Services and Healthwatch Southend.

Owen Richards Healthwatch Southend Chief Officer said – “Who are the best people to suggest improvements to health care?  The people who live with COPD. How does it feel to struggle to live a normal life because of breathing problems?  What could make it easier?  This is a great opportunity to link patients and carers with the people in the NHS and City Council who make decisions about their lives.”

Sara Hadden, Community Connector Coordinator said – “When you live with a long-term illness you know what you want to be able to live your best life. The role of the Community Connectors is to share knowledge about what it is like to live with COPD and to help shape services available now and in the future. This is a really exciting opportunity to make a positive difference to people’s lives and the services available in your neighbourhood.”

To find out more or to join as a Community Connector volunteer please call the Community Connectors on 07944 056547 or alternatively email

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