A SOMERSET charity is looking for volunteers to help their friends, family members, and work colleagues make the best decisions for their health during the pandemic. 

Spark Somerset, a Hambridge-based charity that provides support to the county’s voluntary sector, is on the lookout for people to join its Covid community champions scheme, delivered with help from the Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership (SASP).

The scheme was designed to help people play a role in their communities by providing them with up-to-date information about the virus which they can share with their friends, family, or colleagues.

After attending a short online training session, the Covid community champions will receive regular emails containing useful Covid-19 information to help them and others make the right decisions to stay healthy.

The champions will also receive invitations to online catch-up meetings.

The meetings are optional and informal, and they provide an opportunity to catch up with other champions and hear valuable information from experts.

They can also share feedback at the meetings about how their community work is going where they live and work.

By having the information to hand, the champions can spread the latest guidance surrounding Covid in their day-to-day lives, or even use it to challenge something they see online.  

There are over 100 Covid community champions within the network, who use the information they receive in a range of ways.

In a video on Spark Somerset’s YouTube channel, project coordinator Helen Fielden said: “This is a scheme whereby local people living in Somerset can sign up and get up-to-date information around health, wellbeing, and staying happy and healthy during these difficult times, and then they can go out and share that with the people they know.

“It might be that a Covid community champion chats to someone while they’re queuing up to get into the supermarket, it might be that they talk to work colleagues, or it might be that they challenge something that they see on social media.

“We want as many people as possible to be getting information about how they can stay happy and healthy in a way that makes sense to them.”

One volunteer said: “Being a Covid community champion has been so beneficial.

“I've been able to reassure friends and family regarding the vaccine programme, offer advice to those unsure about PPE, and signpost those wanting more information.

“It’s been really nice knowing I am helping people through the Covid crisis.”

Another added: “The main benefit is understanding the best ways to prevent Covid-19 and being able to share this with my work colleagues and their families. 

“Everyone at work is much more confident, as they have knowledge, so anxiety has reduced.”

To find out more about becoming a Covid community champion, visit www.sparksomerset.org.uk/projects/covid-community-champions or email project coordinator Helen Fielden: helen.fielden@sparksomerset.org.uk.