Rochdale Council awarded £500k for Community Champions to give Covid-19 advice and boost vaccine take up

Date published: 28 January 2021

Rochdale Borough Council is to receive just short of £500,000 of a £23m government fund to support people who are most at risk of the long-term impacts of Covid-19.

The government has allocated £494,567 to Rochdale Borough Council, to establish a network of Community Champions to provide advice about the illness and the vaccines.

Sixty local authorities will benefit from the funding, and through the Community Champions scheme, councils and voluntary organisations will 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.

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.

The funding 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

Janet Emsley, cabinet member for a safer and inclusive community at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “This funding is welcome at such a challenging time. Adding it to support programmes and goodwill already in place in our community equates to a very significant investment in local health.

“We will be using these vital funds to support the hundreds of volunteers in our community and voluntary sector organisations, our unsung heroes helping people access information, advice and support in the ways that work best.

“The work already started is continuing with the roll-out of the vaccine and as priority groups are vaccinated we will also have a specialist programme of help and support to make sure people are protected from the virus and get the support they need with other health issues.”

Examples of programmes the funding will support include:

  • Living Well’s Community Champions who have helped over 50,000 people in the last 10 years.
  • Talk English: a peer led model, which already supports around 500 people, with little or no English, per year.
  • Community Connectors in Adult Social Care prevention services.
  • Community Response in Covid, which is already in place across the borough.
  • Street ambassadors and mutual aid groups who have grown in scale and reach during Covid-19.
  • Physical activity, arts and culture programmes including those being delivered by BAME artists and specific exercise programmes for people with long term conditions.
  • Living Well’s bespoke health improvement programmes in different neighbourhoods.
  • Early help which targets whole families and support for adults to reach and support people with long term conditions who experience multiple disadvantage.
  • Networks of support for older people. Over 13,000 older people can be reached through a network of small and large organisations including HMR Circle.

To find out more about the programmes and help available email:

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