COVID-19 and the vaccine: Community Champions

Building on their previous work supporting faith and community groups during the COVID-19 pandemic, LifeLine’s FaithAction team are now working in partnership with Strengthening Faith Institutions as part of the Government’s Community Champions scheme.

This £23m programme, from the Ministry for Housing, Community and Local Government, provides funding for projects that support communities that have been most affected by the pandemic and that boost uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine in communities that show hesistancy.

FaithAction’s work on the Community Champions programme is currently focused on three main areas.

The Community Champions

FaithAction are recruiting 30 Community Champions from faith and community organisations and places of worship across England.

These Champions will help spread positive messages relating to COVID-19 and the vaccine, encourage people within their communities to take the vaccine and follow restrictions, and to counter the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories surrounding the vaccine.

They also serve as an important source of information by providing FaithAction with insight into the concerns of their local communities, in order to help Government see a clearer picture of the situations people are facing.

They’ll also be involved in arranging local Community Roundtables, to allow FaithAction to hear from local people firsthand about the issues and concerns they’re facing as well as address any questions or concerns they might have about the virus, the vaccine, or other issues around public health.

Here’s just a few of the current lineup of Community Champions:

Deepak Naik

Deepak has a long history of working with the community and voluntary sector, and currently works with multiple community organisations in Coventry.

Minister Madge Obaseki

Madge is a 'Healthly Growth Advocate' that works with community and faith organisations to retain, develop and grow their team.

Dr David Oloke

David is the Senior Pastor and Centre Director of the Lifegate Outreach Centre and Church in Walsall, which works with charity Lifegate Communities to provide support to the local area.

Videos on reducing vaccine hesistancy

In order to support the uptake of the vaccine and combat misinformation, the FaithAction team are producing a series of short videos.

These videos feature the Community Champions, along with faith and community leaders, health professionals and everyday citizens, addressing key topics surrounding the issue – such as where to get reliable information about the vaccine, the risks and benefits of taking a vaccine, and what side-effects it can have – in order to provide reassurance to any community that may be hesitant.

A Better Chance - training for organisations

The final part of FaithAction’s work is a free bespoke capacity-building programme, A Better Chance.

The progamme is aimed at community groups currently working in communities most at risk from COVID-19, with the goal of moving these groups into the best possible position to apply for new funding opportunities in order to continue and expand their work.

Each group on the programme will receive personal coaching from a Support Officer on various aspects of the funding process, along with access to a range of training workshops covering key topics.

A small number of groups will also be given a Digital Transformation package, which aims to give them a step up in today’s online world. The package includes support with setting up a website, running sessions via Zoom, and managing social media channels.

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