Since April 2021 Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council (EVOC) has been distributing micro-grants on behalf of Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation to community organisations based across Edinburgh and the Lothians. Organisations can apply for up to £500 to carry out grassroots activities in support of the COVID-19 vaccination programme and testing. The aim has been to support people who face the biggest barriers to vaccination and testing, including issues concerning language, digital exclusion, transport, myths and mis-information, anxiety and fear.
Over 4,000 people have now been supported through this funding, and funds are still available for community organisations to apply for. Now EVOC has published a short and very accessible Interim Evaluation Report highlighting the activities the funding has supported so far, the outcomes and feedback from some of the community organisations that have benefited.
Success stories in the report include:
- West Lothian African Women Network (WLAWN) held a COVID safe event with speakers from the health sector and other experienced community persons to talk over vaccine and testing issues and answer questions. The event helped clarify some of the myths about the vaccine and encouraged many to take the vaccine if they had not done so already.
- Handicabs (Lothian) said drivers would take people to the vaccination centre and wait for them at the door. This provided a lot of comfort as drivers reassured nervous passengers, spoke with them and “had a laugh” to try and calm their anxieties about going out and getting the vaccine. One Handicabs passenger said, “Thank you so much for taking me for my first vaccine this afternoon. I was so nervous but my driver was lovely and walked me to door of EICC and made sure I was ok. It was so reassuring to see him there afterwards too. This was my first journey to somewhere I don’t know without my friends in years!”
- Euan’s Guide produced a newsletter and social media material for people with disabilities, their friends, families and carers highlighting positive vaccination experiences. Volunteer reviews shared their experiences of having the vaccination to encourage and give confidence to other disabled people.
Funding is still available and organisations that have already benefited may apply again: Micro-grants information and application form