Community Champions to give COVID-19 vaccine advice and boost take up
Liverpool City Council has received special funding to expand work to support those most at risk from COVID-19 and boost vaccine take up.
Through the Community Champions scheme the council has received £600,000 to deliver a wide range of measures to protect those most at risk – communicating accurate health information and ultimately helping to save lives.
This will include developing new networks of trusted local champions where they don’t already exist.
Today’s funding announced by the government is specifically targeted at areas with plans to reach groups such as older people, disabled people, and people from ethnic minority backgrounds who according to the latest evidence are more likely to suffer long-term impacts and poor outcomes from COVID-19.
Liverpool City Council is developing plans to improve communications with these groups including helplines, school programmes, workplace engagement, phoning those in at risk groups as well as training sessions to help people provide information and advice.
The Community Champions will tap into their local networks to provide advice about COVID-19 and the vaccines. Champions will also work with councils to identify barriers to accessing accurate information and to provide tailored support, such as phone calls for people who are digitally excluded, helplines, and linking to GP surgeries.
The funding will also support areas to tackle misinformation and encourage take-up as the vaccination programme expands across the country.
This builds on wider, cross-government measures to engage communities to tackle the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on certain groups and to provide accurate information about COVID -19 and the vaccines to everyone.
Communities Secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “It is vital that everyone has access to accurate and up to date information about COVID-19.
“False information about COVID-19 vaccines could cost lives. Today’s funding will help councils and community groups expand some of the excellent work already underway and reach out to their communities to ensure they have the information they need and get their questions answered. Ultimately this funding will help save lives.”
Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “We want all communities to take up the offer of a free vaccine and I have been working closely with faith and community leaders to ensure those who may be at higher risk of harm from this virus know how they can benefit from a vaccine.
“The expansion of the Community Champions scheme will help everyone get the advice and information they need about COVID-19 vaccines.”
Cllr Paul Brant, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said: “We’ve seen great success in Liverpool working with our BAME community and our elderly on tackling Covid and vaccine myths.
“With this funding we can further develop and hone our communications and outreach programme, and recruit more champions, to help us reach identified gaps and those sometimes harder to reach communities across the city.
“This is vital work. Misinformation and myths in a pandemic costs lives. People need to hear the truth from trusted sources, not gossip or heresay from social media.”
Two charities, Strengthening Faith Institutions and Near Neighbours, will be supporting the council in working with grassroot organisations and community leaders, to ensure that communities understand how the pandemic is being tackled and feel empowered to take action to keep themselves safe.