Cheering Bolton's Community Champions

4/4/22

The faces of Bolton’s Community Champions will be seen across Bolton from this week as part of a campaign to recognise the fantastic work that they have done over the last year.

Through the Government-funded champions scheme, Bolton Council works with trusted community voices to share important information with residents - inducing key information about the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme.

Now a new campaign aims to show the champions just how much their work is appreciated - and show Bolton residents some of the people taking part in the programme. From buses and phone boxes to large billboards and advans in local communities, 24 of the champions will be on display right across the town.

With more than 230 champions signed up, the project has been gone from strength to strength since it was launched in April 2021. Between them, the Bolton champions speak 30 languages, have racked up thousands of volunteer hours and have engaged with thousands of people.

They have played a valuable part in the Covid-19 response, speaking to residents and businesses to pass on important information information.

Suzanne Gilman, Bolton Council’s assistant director of Public Health, said: “I am delighted at the success of the champions programme and the sheer passion and determination that our champions have shown.

“Through difficult times they have put their communities first and helped to keep people safe, often alongside working their regular jobs. They are a credit to the town.”

Nic Onley, associate director for communications and engagement at NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), added: “The Community Champions have proved invaluable during the NHS vaccination programme.

“As the organisation responsible for planning and delivering the vaccination programme through primary care networks, we also have a duty to ensure that our residents are kept informed of the latest changes in eligibility and availability of the Covid-19 vaccine.

“As a result, we strengthened our relationship with engagement teams at Bolton Council, working collaboratively on insight gained directly from communities and the Community Champions themselves to produce responsive information which addressed the needs and concerns of the local population.

“The champions in turn provided residents with a ‘trusted source’ of vital information in what was an emergency situation.

“On behalf of the CCG, I am looking forward to the next phase of the community champions programme which will hopefully have an impact far beyond the Covid-19 pandemic, and be an integral part of community involvement and engagement for Bolton.”

Bolton Community Champion Mandy Jelenje, said: "Having such a diverse community of champions has certainly allowed us to make inroads in the hardest to reach communities “I would urge anyone who is thinking about signing up, to do so.

“In addition to helping your community, family and friends, you also get to do training which is crucial to self-development and lifelong learning.”

In addition to focusing on Covid-19 messages, the programme is now moving into other key areas. The future of the project will be co-designed with champions to make sure that it is meeting the needs of residents.

Find out more about the community champions and how to become one.

 

 

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