Across Gorton, Levenshulme and Whalley Range, a group of local volunteers have been out in the community, answering questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) and helping people to book their vaccination appointments.
The Covid Connectors programme is funded by Manchester Local Care Organisation and run in partnership with Levenshulme Inspire CiC.
Here, David Mclenachan explains what the volunteers do in their community and why they do it.
I had the pleasure to meet the Covid Connectors a couple of times at Levenshulme Inspire.
Charlotte Frances has been a great promoter of their cause, to increase the awareness and facts around the Covid vaccines, reassure those who are doubtful, and give a reasoned view of the benefits of protecting yourself by having the vaccine, partly by explaining away some of the scare stories surrounding them.
I discussed the role with Tina Shaikh, 61, who lives in Longsight. She started to get involved in the Covid Connectors through working for some of Manchester’s vaccination centres, I subsequently met her as we were both volunteering at The Vallance Centre.
Tina has spent nine months supporting the efforts, and through contacts was asked to be part of the Covid Connectors initiative.
She helps those coming into the vaccination centres who are unsure or scared, especially being able to converse with the Asian population, and makes reasoned views on some of the topics they bring up, various rumours, blood clots, the risk whilst pregnant or the ability to have children.
Tina will explain the facts to help the person make the right decision for themselves and their family. This is an ongoing process, and the Covid Connectors are hard at work talking to people about getting the booster.
The team expanded their efforts, and have given out leaflets in local schools, throughout ethnic communities via supermarkets, to spread the word and counteract hoax stories with facts.