In partnership with the Fayre Share Foundation, the COVID champions project was set up to ensure that individuals from faith-based communities have access to reliable information around the vaccine. The programme supports key figures within faith-based communities with providing positive messaging around the vaccine in order to establish trust and confidence. This has been particularly pertinent in communities which have been under-served or have suffered healthcare inequalities, and therefore lack trust in traditional institutions.
At the conclusion of the project, representatives of the London interfaith community met to celebrate the work done by the COVID Community Champions in encouraging vaccine uptake amongst faith-based communities. This evening of celebration was expertly coordinated by Leonie Lewis MBE and took place on at 7:30pm, 2nd September at The Granville Community Centre in Kilburn.
The honourees were presented with a certificate by Lord Greenhalgh, the Minister for Communities, who said that: “We want everyone to benefit from the offer of a free vaccine, no matter their ethnicity or religious beliefs.”
The event also served as a celebration of the strength of the interfaith network in London, and its capacity for grassroots mobilisation amongst traditionally under-served or hard-to-reach communities. Particular attention was given to Dr Tamara Joffe and Carl Blackburn and how their efforts led to over 3500 doses being administered to members of the communities, many of whom were initially hesitant about the vaccine.