Communities Against Covid

Communities Against Covid-19 case study – Hulme, Moss Side and Rusholme and Ardwick and Longsight MLCO Integrated Neighbourhood Teams

Our neighbourhood is ethnically and linguistically very diverse, transient, has precarious employment and poverty, poor housing, digital exclusion and high levels of underlying health conditions.

There are some practical barriers to Covid-19 engagement:

  • Language and literacy
  • Digital exclusion
  • Transport and accessibility

As well as more complex barriers of mistrust and fear of services and fatigue of talking about Covid-19.

Traditional methods of communication were not working – cases were rapidly rising but vaccination numbers were not increasing. We knew we needed to try something different, with a new approach to the conversation.

In close partnership with Manchester City Council and with support from partners and the VCSE sector, we undertook the mammoth task of visiting over 5000 homes in the areas with lowest vaccine uptake.

When people answered the door, we did not ask people to change their behaviour, but asked how we could change ours to address the wider determinants of health:

  • What do you think of our services?
  • What can we do to support you?
  • Do our services meet your needs?
  • What is preventing you from taking up the offer of a vaccine?

This approach has provided invaluable insight into the needs of our community and their attitudes towards our services and the vaccine. Some people were in a desperate situation, starving or unable to leave the house. We were able to signpost people to services and support that could help them and made two urgent referrals.

Door knocking helped to build trust in services with our community and has started a conversation about what we can do differently.