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Celebrating Community Champions: Meet Reecon and catch up with event success

Added: 03/03/2022

The Community Champions project is really getting into its stride thanks to the hard of work of many volunteers, supporters and partnership working.

Meet one of our star Volunteers

There have been lots of outreach and engagement events thanks to Community Champions. These normally involve walking the streets of an area with lots of flyers and information in different languages and speaking to people about the vaccine.

A few volunteers have come along to help on multiple occasions. Reecon is one them.

photo of Reecon smiling stood next to a Community Champions banner

Reecon, a Community Champion outreach volunteer in Harehills.

Reecon said “I’d just finished uni and wanted something to do”. He was told about Voluntary Action Leeds by his family, saw this volunteering opportunity and thought he’d give it a go.

“I’ve enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would” Reecon said.

He has been able to get out of the house, and has enjoyed taking to all different kinds of people. He says it’s a step in the right direction for him as he’d like to go into a job that involves health promotion. He’s currently waiting to start work in a school so this has been a nice way to fill his time and gain some experience before heading into that role.

photo of the backs of 3 volunteers walking the streets of Harehills

Success in Harehills: the Meeting Point Cafe and Connecting Roma events

Harehills has been one of the areas Community Champions have spent the most time in. Two recent events have complimented the regular Compton Centre vaccine offer. The Meeting point free lunch and vaccine last Monday 21st February, and the Connecting Roma event yesterday, 2nd March 2022.

The Meeting Point

#TeamsLeeds colleagues from Leeds City Council organised the free lunch and vaccine event at the Meeting Point cafe, with a Bevan Healthcare vaccinator, and support from Community Champions volunteers, and project workers from VAL and Forum Central.

It was a really successful afternoon, with over 80 conversations on the streets with locals, and 10 vaccines given – plus the sun shined on us all day, which was a welcome break from rain all that week.

Pauline was a very welcoming host at the cafe and made a delicious chilli for people to eat while they waited patiently for the vaccine. There was cake too!

photo of Pauline stood in the kitchen area of the Meeting Point cafe

Pauline in the kitchen of the Meeting Point cafe.

People getting the vaccine on the day were from a variety of backgrounds and situations; including two men who were currently homeless, one Polish younger man, and a man and woman of Black ethnicity and an Indian man. There was also one woman who we met on the street in front of the cafe who didn’t speak English, luckily one of our Community Champion volunteers was able to translate for her in Panjabi –  that meant she felt comfortable enough to get the vaccine there and then – a great result!

They were all grateful for this vaccine pop up because they either wouldn’t have made an appointment to get it at all or it would have been much later on. A few mentioned that they currently weren’t registered with a GP so weren’t sure how to get it, with a few using pop up or walk in vaccines sites for all 3 of their vaccines, proving just how essential these initiatives are for people who find themselves for one reason or another outside, or on the edge of the NHS system.

Some of those getting the vaccine were happy for their photo to be taken.

older man after getting his covid vaccine   black man getting his covid vaccine    Polish man getting his covid vaccine

As you can see it is a simple set up, in the back room stairwell of the cafe. But all that’s needed for vaccines to be given safely is a quiet and private area where a health care professional can set up. Maybe you have an idea for somewhere vaccines could be given that’s local to you?

 

Connecting Roma information event

Another great opportunity for community engagement in Harehills was organised by Leeds City Council and Connecting Roma CIC. We were on hand to speak to local people, and support them to make healthy choices by giving out information leaflets in their first language.

A great day was had by all and it enabled us to speak to other organisations and projects which have similar aims about joined up working and opportunities in the future.

 

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