1 June 2022

Supporting Communities With Vaccines And Testing

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Thanks to generous donations from our supporters and grants from NHS Charities Together, we have been working with Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations’ Council (EVOC) to offer microgrants of up to £500 to support the COVID-19 vaccination programme and testing.

The aim is to support people who face the biggest barriers to vaccination and testing, including issues concerning language, digital exclusion, transport, myths and misinformation, anxiety and fear.

Community organisations across Edinburgh and the Lothians who were supporting groups including carers; black, Asian and minority ethnic communities; homeless people; people with mental health conditions; SIMD areas, could apply for grants to help support these groups to get vaccinated and/or tested.

What difference have these grants made?

Applications opened in April 2021 and in the first 9 months, over 4,000 people benefitted from the 31 grants distributed. This has been through activities including:

  • Guest speakers, such as medical practitioners providing information about vaccines to groups experiencing inequality and hesitancy.
  • Health advice translated into different languages.
  • Transport to and from vaccination centres.
  • Individuals assisted to make appointments and navigate online systems as many found the process difficult and stressful.
  • Videos produced to dispel the spread of false information e.g. in British Sign Language.
  • Social media material about vaccinations and testing circulated to groups such as carers; black, Asian and minority ethnic communities; people with disabilities; people with medical conditions; young parents.
  • Individual clients experiencing anxiety and stress around getting the vaccine supported.
  • Newsletters from local community groups provided a trusted and accessible point of information to hundreds of people.

 Success stories in the report include:

  • West Lothian African Women Network (WLAWN) held a COVID safe event with speakers from the health sector and other experienced community persons to talk over vaccine and testing issues and answer questions. The event helped clarify some of the myths about the vaccine and encouraged many to take the vaccine if they had not done so already.
  • Handicabs (Lothian) said drivers would take people to the vaccination centre and wait for them at the door. This provided a lot of comfort as drivers reassured nervous passengers, spoke with them and “had a laugh” to try and calm their anxieties about going out and getting the vaccine. One Handicabs passenger said, “Thank you so much for taking me for my first vaccine this afternoon. I was so nervous but my driver was lovely and walked me to door of EICC and made sure I was ok. It was so reassuring to see him there afterwards too. This was my first journey to somewhere I don’t know without my friends in years!”
  • Euan’s Guide produced a newsletter and social media material for people with disabilities, their friends, families and carers highlighting positive vaccination experiences. Volunteer reviews shared their experiences of having the vaccination to encourage and give confidence to other disabled people.

Funding is still available and organisations that have already benefited may apply again: Micro-grants information and application form

You can read more about the activities that this funding as supported so far, as well as outcomes and feedback from some of the community organisations that have benefited in EVOC’s interim report, issued in December 2021.

Vaccinator holding syringe to put in patient's arm

With your support, we can do even more to support those in our community