A new COVID-19 vaccine community fund has been announced in a bid to drive vaccination take-up in Luton.
This latest initiative will be funded through a grant of £485k, which Luton Council has been awarded by central government to fund schemes to increase vaccine take-up across groups where uptake is particularly low.
The council has agreed to commit £200k for an initiative called the COVID-19 Vaccine Community Fund (CVCF), which is currently running in all of the 19 wards of Luton.
It aims to involve local people from across the whole community in improving the take up of the COVID-19 vaccination.
Luton’s Director of Public Health, Sally Cartwright and Portfolio holder for public health, Cllr Khtija Malik, are urging communities, voluntary organisations, local organisations and businesses to come forward and apply for funding in an effort to encourage take-up of the vaccine and help to keep the elderly and vulnerable in Luton safe.
Sally Cartwright said: “Like the rest of the country we have seen vaccine uptake drop in recent weeks. While many people might think that COVID is over, it is not and is still very much with us! We know that having the vaccine is the very best defence and protection to tackle this disease.
“As we now move to a position where we all need to live with Covid, it is vitally important that we continue to all do what we can to keep Luton safe, slow the spread of the virus and protect those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 and are at risk of becoming seriously ill.”
Cllr Khtija Malik added: “This is a great initiative and we hope that communities, the voluntary sector, organisations and businesses will apply. These groups will be best placed to come up with innovative ideas to help us increase numbers of those who have yet to have the vaccine.
“We know that in Luton there are still thousands of people who have not yet had their first vaccination. We still have plenty of opportunities for people to have the jab. There is no need to book, you can walk in to the Redgrave Centre or the Old Post Office in The Mall and the vaccination van will be at Sainsbury’s car park, Bury Park, LU1 1DY from 07-12 March 10.30am – 5.30pm and St Georges Square on Sunday 13 March 10.30am – 3.30pm. You can also book a free taxi to take you to and from a vaccination centre or walk-in site.”
If you're part of a community group, business or local organisation in Luton and you have an idea for a project to improve the take up of COVID-19 vaccinations, you're able to apply for funding.
If your project meets the funders’ criteria and the panel feels the project will increase vaccine take-up, then you could get from £5,000 up to £20,000 funding to support your idea.
The CVCF is for community-led projects that can support the work of the council and its partners to improve the take up of COVID-19 vaccinations. It's particularly targeted at the following groups, where current levels of vaccination are lower:
>young people aged 12 to 24 years old
>people in the following ethnic groups: South Asian (particularly the Pakistani population), Black African, Black Caribbean, Eastern European (white other), Gypsy and Roma
The funding can be used for any activity that will help to improve vaccine take-up across Luton.
To apply and see guidance notes, please go to the council website COVID-19 Vaccine Community Fund
Applications must be submitted by 23.59pm on 21 March 2022.
For more information contact the Programme team by email: [email protected]