A SCOUT leader has told how his new role as a Covid Community Champion has helped spread the vaccination message.

Michael Grime, 63, has used the contacts built up over 30 years to ensure Darwen residents get the right information to help combat the spread of coronavirus.

The church organist is one of a team doing their bit to support the recovery from the pandemic.

Recruited by Blackburn with Darwen Council, their role is to make sure accurate public health information gets to residents - even hard-to-reach groups.

The Covid Community Champions are recruited from all walks of life in the borough – different ages, different cultures and nationalities, and different areas.

Mr Grime, the Darwen District Commissioner for Scouts, said: “I want to do what I can to help us get back to some kind of normal and help spread the word.

"I’m in an ideal position with the networks I’m already involved in.

"And during the pandemic I’d already been doing some of what the champions are being asked to do. By joining the champions, I get more info direct from the council – that gives people more confidence that it’s accurate.”

Michael is also a volunteer with Darwen Asylum Refugee and Enterprise and has been supporting refugees in the town whose English language skills made them vulnerable to falling foul of the lockdown rules.

He said: “I’ve helped them to understand what they can and can’t do, and also reassured them about the vaccine. They were reluctant at first, but once some of them had it, they almost became ambassadors for the jab and have encouraged others to have it too.”

Sayyed Osman, Blackburn with Darwen Council's director for adults and health, said: “Our Covid Community Champions have a vital role to play in helping us get back to some kind of normality safely and while keeping control of virus rates across the borough. Blackburn with Darwen is just one of more than 60 councils that have received funding from the government to address the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on certain groups.”