A Preston based group is launching its own information campaign about Covid vaccines and the pandemic amid fears that disinformation is spreading through the black community in Lancashire.
The city based Windrush Initiatives CIC (Community Interest Company) is currently carrying out its own survey of the black community across the county and will be putting its campaign out via social media .
Spokesman Adrian Murrell said this was in a bid to make sure any decisions relating to getting vaccinated are informed by knowledge not fear.
The questionnaire will also seek to discover if community members have any additional needs or problems with food poverty, loneliness or depression linked to the pandemic and lockdown and to ascertain their level of trust in the NHS and other institutions.
Adrian said it was apparent that misleading information about Covid-19 could be picked up from all sorts of unreliable social media and YouTube postings and passed on. It was essential to get the correct factual information out to the community directly amid the ongoing vaccination programme.
He said of the disinformation: "That spreads as if it's gospel and it's not, it's just somebody's opinion. What I'm trying to do is get the right information to people so they can make their decision...and not listen to these horror stories."
It is intended that the campaign will feature videos and art. Adrian said: " We're getting facts from people who know what they are doing - the scientists. We're trying to get people who are informed to inform people so they make the right decisions."
It is also hoped that the videos will feature some of the community leaders who have already been vaccinated and possibly a webinar with a medical/public health expert.
The initiative comes in the context that across the country the BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) community has been among those disproportionally affected by Covid-19.
Adrian said he was aware there was a proportion of the community now reluctant to get vaccinated. He added: "It's about trust isn't it, trusting the advice. You hear so many horror stories and we've seen so many deaths in our community in the last few months."
Adrian added this campaign is only a start and in the longer term Windrush Initiatives hopes to address topics such as prostate cancer prevention, mental health and racism issues.
He added that the group is also keen to have a community centre and plug gaps in the understanding of black heritage in Britain. He said: " We would like to see a Windrush cultural centre and educate people about the history of the Windrush generation*."
He noted the city used to have the Unity Centre, a Caribbean community centre in the 1980s. He added: "Longer term that's a real need."
The Lancashire Windrush Community Survey can be accessed here or at: https://s.surveyplanet.com/UqkV0dkUg
*The phrase "Windrush generation" refers to those who arrived in the UK from Carbibbean countries between 1948 and 1973 amid post-war labour shortages. The first arrivals from the West Indies came on the Empire Windrush ship.
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