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Community champions to give COVID-19 advice across the city, as a national retailer changes COVID-19 policy after advice from the city council

Published: Wednesday, 27th January 2021

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is to implement community champions following a successful bid to secure funding from government.

On Monday (25 January) the city council was awarded £288,000 to expand work to support those most at risk from COVID-19 and boost vaccine take up in the city.

Community champions will be appointed to deliver a wide range of measures to protect those most at risk across the city - understanding symptoms, compliance with restrictions, accessing and promoting testing, accessing support and services, tackling misinformation and encourage take-up of the vaccination programme.

The champions will help ensure that health literacy will be easier for communities to understand and translate into common languages. Further work will be done to target the BAME community and residents living with limiting long term conditions.

Council leader Abi Brown said: “It is vital that everyone has access to accurate and up to date information about COVID-19 and these champions will help us do that. Community champions are already in place across many areas of England, and we have had some great feedback on the work that has been done in those areas.

“This funding will build on the great work which has already been done within the local community and our voluntary response to the pandemic, which has been coordinated through the Stoke-on-Trent Together partnership- the city council, VAST, voluntary and community groups and local volunteers.

“We envisage a lasting legacy for the community champions supporting the health needs of the city after the pandemic. Helping support in improving mental health, reducing loneliness and supporting physical activity across communities are just a few of the things.”

Meanwhile after the city council wrote to a further 50 retailers across the city last week to remind them of their coronavirus responsibilities, in response to complaints received from the public. A national retailer has now changed their COVID-19 compliance rules.

Upon receiving the letter, mixed goods retailer The Range has now changed their company policy in relation to staff wearing face coverings. Warehouse staff will now be wearing face coverings whilst working and after implementing this at the local Stoke-on-Trent store it was shared with the national health and safety team and now face coverings will be worn in all their warehouses across the country.

Council leader Abi Brown said: “This really is fantastic news to hear. We want to continue to work with businesses; we have every understanding for essential retailers working hard to continue to operate under very difficult circumstances. But businesses must continue to do all they can to stop the spread of the virus.”

Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, director of adult social care, health integration and wellbeing, said: “The reason we sent this letter was for exactly this reason, businesses must continue to do all they can to stop the spread of the virus and follow the rules. Retailers have a key role to play to help to control the spread of coronavirus by ensuring adherence to a number of measures within their stores. Many people are now staying home, so visiting a supermarket or retail store may be the only place they visit. I hope more retailers now follow suit.”

All residents are reminded about the critical importance of regular handwashing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. The significance of this action cannot be underestimated. If residents have symptoms, please get tested. All residents must continue to follow the guidance of wash hands, cover face and make space.

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