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Health & Wellbeing

Volunteer Community Champions

Read about the experiences of some of our Stop Smoking Community Champions below.

To become one of our Community Champions, you can read the role description and person specification in our Application Information Pack here and then fill out the Application Form and send it to For more information, see the Smokefree section of our Jobs page.

Melisa explains the variety of roles and learning opportunities available as a Community Champion volunteer.

“I have been volunteering for Shoreditch Trust for almost two years. Before I joined I had never heard of the organisation, but I am interested in Community work and health issues and want to gain new skills and experiences.

I was impressed when I read about the range of services and support the Trust also offers, such as counselling, acupuncture, cooking skills, Pilates and Yoga. I really like the way it covers a range of lifestyle changes and makes them available along with Smoking Cessation.

When I began volunteering I was doing outreach work for the smoking cessation team. We set up information stands in Tesco and Sainsbury's stores, and at The Hackney Service Centre. The information we offered was about quitting. We displayed leaflets and literature about the harmful effects of smoking, the quit program, offered information and advice and explained about the 6 week programme that is available for people who want to quit smoking. I volunteered with the outreach team for about a year, and I thoroughly enjoyed the work experience. It gave me a real sense of doing something worthwhile and important.

In my second year I worked in the offices. All the information that is collected from the outreach workers finds its way back to the offices where it is uploaded onto a database, and every potential client is given a call and asked if they would like an appointment made to visit our clinics to see a trained professional stop smoking advisor.

This was a great experience for me to actually be part of the second process, working in an office using a database was quite a new experience for me. The support and patience I received from Fred and the rest of the team was first class. The combined work was good for my confidence and again I liked making the appointments and sending off the letters.

I am currently at college on a counselling course. I found I was able to use the skills I am learning on my course during the training. I would like to continue next year as a volunteer for Shoreditch Trust and improve on my skills, learning and knowledge, with the hope that opportunities will unfold at the right time.”

Jennifer* is a Community Champion volunteer who progressed on to sessional work with the Shoreditch Trust stop smoking team and now has a full time permanent position at Smokefree Camden.

“I worked for NHS Stop Smoking Service at Shoreditch Trust for one year and four months, starting as volunteer and gradually progressing into a paid role as a stop smoking advisor.

I found out about the Stop Smoking Community Champions project in the Guardian newspaper back in February 2011. At the time I was looking for different work opportunities after taking redundancy in my previous job in the mental health sector. As I was considering changing direction into the smoking cessation field I grabbed this opportunity with both hands and applied for the Community Champion role.

During the summer of 2011, I gained experience and confidence doing stop smoking campaigns at various locations within Hackney to reach targeted communities. The work involved setting up stalls and displays providing information to the general public and making referrals. It was great to work alongside other volunteers; they were very enthusiastic. Stop smoking service manager Fred was very supportive and encouraging all the way. Fred has given me an opportunity to access further training and later offered some paid work when I was ready.

Other courses that I benefitted from were Smoking Cessation Levels 2 and 3 and face-to face training course in Behavioural Support. With Fred’s encouragement I also completed the NCSCT online training, leading to full certification as a Stop Smoking Practitioner.

I worked for one year as a stop smoking advisor at Shoreditch Trust, covering two clinics at Homerton Library and one in Dalston. I provided one-to-one evidence based stop smoking interventions. I collected data to enable the work of the service to be evaluated, provided accurate information about what to expect during a quit attempt to clients, measured carbon monoxide levels, explained about the 3 types of medication available, issued Letters of Recommendation for the supply of chosen medication and carried out follow up appointments if it was appropriate. Additionally I helped with the induction of Health Psychology students joining the volunteer programme.

Direct work with clients gave me valuable clinical experience and as my confidence grew I started to look for more work opportunities in this field. Furthering personal development enabled me to find additional work within Stop Smoking Services in different boroughs while I kept applying for full time positions. Eventually I was offered a full time permanent post as Stop Smoking Practitioner.

I was sad to leave because there is such a great bunch of people (staff and volunteers) within Shoreditch Trust but it was a natural progression and the right thing to do.

Once again I would like to say thank you to Fred and the whole team for all their support and encouragement.”

*Name has been changed.