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Meet Lewisham COVID-19 Community Champion Marilyn Moore

Marilyn Moore shares her experience on being a COVID-19 Community Champion and what it's been like since joining the programme.

Marilyn Moore, an outreach officer from the library service joined the COVID-19 Community Champions programme that was set up to share factual information about COVID-19 and help the community avoid myths.

We caught up with Marilyn to hear more about why she decided to join the Community Champions programme and how she found the Royal Society of Public Health training on having COVID-19 vaccination conversations currently being offered to Community Champions.

Why did you decide to become a Community Champion?

My background comes from supporting and helping people – in terms of talking and signposting them to other resources and organisations. The pandemic opened up an opportunity for me to help the community and use my skills, especially to help those who are most vulnerable. I saw that there was a link for me to become a community champion as I have a connection to the local community and that I was able to use my transferrable skills.

It is important to help the community and for people to feel like they are not alone, especially in times like these.

How did you find the training on COVID-19 vaccinations?

I found it to be very helpful and a good overview on what COVID-19 vaccination is like and the reason for why it is given. I learnt that it is not for us to push people to take it – it is for us to support and encourage them but it is their ultimate decision. The training gave us the opportunity to talk about our experiences on befriending, test and trace and other activities the community champions have been involved in.

The training gave us information on the support and signposting tools available to refer people to, I found it very useful!

What are your tips on having COVID-19 vaccine conversations?

The most important thing is to give the right information if people want to know more about it – some people are afraid and it is important to talk them through any worries they have or let them know that they can talk to their GPs. It is important to make people feel safe and refer them to other services that have expert knowledge.

How have you found the Community Champions programme?

It’s been a good opportunity to discuss with other community champions on what is happening on the ground – being able to talk about it in the group, get advice and help others who aren’t sure about the vaccine. It’s been good to talk about it to colleagues in the weekly meetings and let them know what it is all about.

Would you encourage other people to become a Community Champion?

Yes I think it is very important, in terms of doing something good for the community – if you feel like you can then go forward and don’t be afraid. It is important to help and support the community and protect the most vulnerable where we can.

The COVID-19 Community Champions receive the most up to date information around COVID-19, guidance and health information via a weekly email. They are also invited to attend optional twice monthly webinars, which also provides a forum for Champions to discuss ideas on how they share information with community members they are in contact with.

Find out more about becoming a COVID-19 Community Champion.

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