Give Hope Campaign Supported Across Anglican, Methodist, Salvation Army, Baptist, Pentecostal, Evangelical and Black majority churches from across the UK
Cross denominational leaders of the Christian faith have joined forces with the NHS to launch a campaign aimed at encouraging a more balanced conversation around the COVID-19 vaccine and to tackle much of the misinformation that has caused distrust, particularly in black majority communities and churches. The Give Hope campaign, which has been organised by YourNeighbour, encourages Christians to engage with vaccine discussions and for them to start a conversation with their neighbours and communities.
With the support of Paul Butler, the Bishop of Durham and Pastor Agu Irukwu (Jesus House), the Bishop of Dover, The Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Commissioner Anthony Cotterill from the Salvation Army and other senior church leaders, YourNeighbour has sought input from NHS England and Public Health England. In addition, the campaign has partnered with the behavioural scientists at Ice Creates to understand the complexities around vaccine hesitancy and how to work with communities to build trust and uptake in the vaccine. It is hoped the initiative will encourage church leaders, particularly within the black community, to have the conversation with their congregations and in their communities to dispel fake news, allay fears and come together to give hope and hasten the end of COVID-19.
Russ Rook, co-founder of YourNeighbour commented,
“Over the coming months, we will be supporting Christian leaders and activists to change the narrative around the COVID-19 vaccines in their communities. By helping to communicate directly with hard to reach groups that may miss out, facilitating clear and kind conversations with some who may be reticent and providing practical support to those who need it, UK churches are playing a vital role in our country’s recovery from COVID-19.”
The chief executive of NHS England has described “genuine and deep concern” that uptake of COVID -19 vaccines may be lower among minority ethnic groups. A recent poll of 2000 UK adults by the Royal Society for Public Health found that three quarters (76%) of people overall would willingly have a covid vaccination—but this fell to 57% of respondents from minority ethnic backgrounds.
Bishop of Dover, The Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin said: “When you are offered the opportunity to get your COVID vaccination, I want you to take it. There are distracting voices in our black and minority ethnic communities spreading doubt and alarm. And while I understand the fear and concern, listening to those voices alone will rob us of the need to live flourishing lives with our families and friends. These vaccines offer us a path through the pandemic, giving us hope, strength and the chance of safety. If the vaccine was good enough for Her Majesty, then it is good enough for us.”
Churches will be offered a range of resources to help them engage their communities in the conversation at: www.yourneighbour.org.
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