Citizen Ambassador Programme

Running since 2017, the Citizen Ambassador (CA) Programme is a peer-led research and engagement programme. An important distinction of the CA Programme is that it is delivered by Healthwatch Surrey to ensure that it remains independent from the NHS.

Our Citizen Ambassador Programme in Surrey Heartlands

The CA programme exists to increase the reach of direct, critical, and honest feedback to all areas of our health and care system.  In 2018 the Citizen Ambassador Programme was awarded the ‘NHS 70 Healthwatch England’ award for putting people at the heart of care.

We currently have six citizen ambassadors (CAs) who deliver research projects across the following topics: Digital, Mental Health, Prevention, Cancer, Equalities and Women & Children. The CAs are recruited from a range of backgrounds and are given research training to support them to carry out their roles. They each work 15 hours a month.

Typically, CAs are people with direct or indirect experience of the topics they are linked to, and they tend to be people with previously little experience of taking part in public involvement or service transformation initiatives. CAs are people who bring fresh insights into our system and act as the ‘critical friend’ to our services. Our Citizen Ambassadors often come to us with new ideas for projects that shine a light on important topics that might not have been brought to our attention otherwise.

Meet the team

Non Hill: Surrey Heartlands Citizen Ambassador for Digital

Surrey Heartlands Citizen Ambassador for Digital

Non Hill

Non lives in Surrey and has been a Digital Citizen Ambassador for 2 years. Her professional background was as a Research Molecular Biologist for 12 years before a career break to raise her family. She experienced, first-hand, the challenges of navigating the health and care system advocating for her son who has complex medical needs. As, a result, she is passionate about improving access to services and equity of care for all and especially the most vulnerable members of society.

Since joining Healthwatch, Non has engaged with citizens and stakeholders to bring their voices to the Surrey Heartlands digital transformation workstream on a number of key programmes including electronic shared care records, website and app development, digital inclusion and creating digital road maps of support for learning disabled citizens.

Outside of work, Non is a volunteer Trustee and Researcher for a national hydrocephalus charity carrying out family engagement work, writing reports and sharing findings with clinical and academic teams and policy makers who can effect change.

When she isn’t working, Non enjoys climbing mountains and swimming in lakes.

Bex Guy: Surrey Heartlands Citizen Ambassador for Women and Children

Surrey Heartlands Citizen Ambassador for Women and Children

Our Citizen Ambassador for Children’s and Woman’s services is based in Woking, Surrey.

She is new to the post and currently involved in her first project; working with families who have English as an additional language and their access to health and social care. She is really looking forward to meeting these families and listening to their experiences.

Having been a qualified Speech and Language Therapist working with children in the NHS for over 12 years means equality to healthcare is close to her heart.

When not working, she spends time with her three children, husband and energetic dog! They enjoy walking adventures in the Lake District, cinema and are involved in various sports clubs. She also works two days a week in a school carrying out behavioural therapy.

Given her original career choice she has always been passionate about giving people a voice. This role does exactly that. She believes that letting people know that they are heard and consequently influencing change can be both a rewarding and a healing experience.

Anita Cooper

Anita Cooper

Surrey Heartlands Citizen Ambassador

Cancer

Michael Frean

Michael Frean

Surrey Heartlands Citizen Ambassador

Mental Health

Leigh Smith

Leigh Smith

Surrey Heartlands Citizen Ambassador

Equalities

Laura Bonsis Pozo

Laura Bonsis Pozo

Surrey Heartlands Citizen Ambassador

Prevention