A helpline is on the frontline to get key Covid-19 messages out across Bradford.
It’s been launched by Race Equality Network is an umbrella group which brings together Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities across the Bradford District.
Race Equality Network is currently working on a COVID-19 Prevention Project which began in September 2020 with funding from Bradford Council.
The project aims to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic and Central and Eastern European communities living in the Bradford District and address health inequalities for those communities as a result of COVID-19. Leading on the project are Project Manager, Humma Nizami and Project Capacity Builder, Hattie Charnley-Shaw.
The group have commissioned four ‘Anchor’ organisations who have strong links to communities and existing relationships with other organisations.
Grange Interlink Community Centre, BEAP Community Partnership, Karmand Community Centre and Sangat Community Centre in Keighley. In addition to these four, the Network has funded 22 smaller organisations to assist in the COVID-19 prevention and dissemination of information across the district.
The helpline currently spans 5 different organisations including BEAP Community Partnership, Muslim Women’s Council, Connecting Roma, Grange Interlink and New Libya Society who collectively provide information and guidance on Covid-19 to BAME and Central Eastern European communities in different language including Bangla, Urdu, Punjabi, English, Roma, Slovakian, Czech, and Arabic. Project Manager for Race Equality Network
With the support of these organisations, the REN COVID-19 Prevention Project has been able to provide up-to-date COVID-19 information from the NHS, Public Health and Bradford Council translated in a range of community languages using accessible methods of communications such as video messages, leaflets etc.
They have recruited Community Champions who are supporting the Bradford COVID Response Hub with ‘Warming-up’ and myth-busting engagement activities in a range of community languages for Home Testing in areas where infection rates are high which has helped to alleviate mistrust and misconceptions exacerbated by the pandemic.
The Race Equality Network work in partnership with Public Health, the Council and NHS to raise concerns, anxieties and barriers faced by BAME and CEE communities, including doubts surrounding the Covid-19 vaccine, test and trace, infection control and any conspiracy theories that are being circulated on social media.
Humma Nizami said that “BAME communities are two to three times more likely to die from COVID-19 than other members of the population so the funding we have received by Bradford Council to deliver this project will enable us to ensure BAME and CEE communities across the Bradford district feel they are supported to control COVID-19 and have improved access to information about the virus in a range of accessible formats. By setting up the Covid Helpline, we hope to break down further barriers to accessing information around Covid, especially for those people from BAME and CEE backgrounds who are most at risk but who are not literate or E-literate”