Hillingdon Council has been awarded £39,100 funding from central government to support those most at risk from covid.
The funding will boost vaccine take up by providing advice as well as tackling misinformation about coronavirus and vaccinations.
Hillingdon’s Community Champions scheme, which will see the council working in conjunction with H4All (a collaboration of local charities), will deliver a wide range of measures to protect those most at risk – building trust, communicating accurate health information and ultimately helping to save lives.
The council has already built a strong network of community, faith and voluntary sector groups since the start of the pandemic, working closely with health partners.
The Community Champions scheme will further strengthen this work by working with trusted local champions from faith and community groups to help reach older people, disabled residents, and people from ethnic minority backgrounds. These are the people that are more likely to suffer long-term impacts from COVID-19.
Champions will tap into their local networks to provide advice about COVID-19. They will also work with Hillingdon Council and H4All to identify barriers to accessing accurate information and to provide tailored support, such as phone calls for people who are digitally excluded, helplines, and link people to GP surgeries.
Leader of Hillingdon Council, Cllr Ian Edwards, said: “It is crucial that residents who are vulnerable and at high risk are able to access accurate information about COVID-19.
“This is particularly important for our harder to reach communities who may fall victim to misinformation which can be harmful.
“The Community Champions scheme will help identify those community groups and make sure that they are well informed and in turn work to boost the take up of the COVID-19 vaccine locally.
“Champions will be supported by the council and given training as well as access to information designed for those in the community with disabilities or language barriers.”
This is part of more than £7.2 billion government funding provided to councils to help them support their communities during the pandemic.
Two charities, Strengthening Faith Institutions and Near Neighbours, will also support councils to work 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.
If you would like further information about the Hillingdon Community Champions scheme, please email firstname.lastname@example.org