COVID-19 Champions - Natalia's Story
Multi Kulti West Midlands CIC is a multicultural organisation based in Walsall, bringing people together through community and charitable events. They are one of several organisations involved in the COVID-19 Community Champions programme.
In phase one of the programme, Multi Kulti completed questionnaires to understand perceptions of the COVID-19 vaccination, supported the mobile vaccination bus across Walsall and encouraged residents to be vaccinated through the sharing of individual experiences. They also worked with a local GP (through the NHS Black Country and West Birmingham CCG) to produce vaccination information videos in English and Polish.
In phase two, the group will continue their activities by running a mixture of online and face-to-face sessions, distributing COVID vaccination information in various locations and engaging with professionals.
Multi Kulti has recruited Community Champions to support the delivery of their work. One of these is Natalia, who has kindly shared her story:
My name is Natalia, I am 45 years old and I live in Walsall. I am a volunteer for Multi Kulti West Midlands CIC.
During what was a difficult time for everyone, I decided to become a COVID-19 Champion to help people have better access to the vaccine and to help be part of the community.
My role as a Champion was to support the mobile vaccination buses and actively offer the opportunity for people to be vaccinated. I also had conversations with residents to explain the benefits of vaccination.
On one occasion, I was approached by a man who was unsure about whether to get vaccinated. I had the opportunity to explain how important it was to be vaccinated, to protect yourself and others. Initially, he wasn’t sure if he could get to the vaccination centre on time, but we offered him the chance to receive his first dose on the vaccination bus and he agreed to have it straight away. I signposted him to the clinicians and he thanked me for my help.
For those who are looking to volunteer in any way, my advice is that it is worth it because you can make a difference.