North Lincolnshire Council has received almost £400,000 to expand its work to support those most at risk from Covid-19 and boost vaccine take up.
The money will be used to expand the council’s Community Champions scheme to protect those most at risk – building trust, communicating accurate health information and ultimately helping to save lives.
It will enable the council to reach groups such as older people, disabled people, and people from ethnic minority backgrounds. The council has developed a plan to improve communications with these groups.
The Community Champions will tap into their local networks to provide advice about Covid-19 and the vaccines. Champions will also work with the council 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.
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.”
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, said:
“Throughout the pandemic, our priority has been to protect the most vulnerable.
“It is vital higher-risk groups are able to access the advice and information they need whether it’s about testing, accessing the NHS or the benefits of a lifesaving vaccine.
“I’m delighted to see further funding going to local areas to support their communities during this challenging time, and I’m thankful for the continued expertise and dedication of community leaders in spreading the word about our historic vaccination rollout programme across the country.”
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 Rob Waltham, Leader of North Lincolnshire Council, said:
“While North Lincolnshire has been congratulated for the speed in which our most vulnerable residents have received the vaccine, we cannot afford, at this critical stage, to take our foot off the pedal.
“This new injection of Government cash will be carefully targeted to encourage those that are eligible to get the vaccine, which we know is so important to reduce transmissions, protect the NHS and save lives.
“The vaccination programme how shown us the route out of this pandemic. We need everyone who is eligible, across our whole community, to come forward. This is the only way that we will be able to get back to some normality.”