Story by Carrie Hedderwick. Thank you to the passer-by who took the photo.
Introducing the Sheffield Community Contact Tracers (SCCT) & the Burngreave Fir Vale group SCCT, a group of community activists, local volunteers, former GPs, and public health doctors, ran a contact tracing pilot project earlier this year, believing that a well organised and funded community-based contract tracing system could have a significant impact on the spread of Covid-19.
People with Covid were referred to the project from a local GP surgery; those people were then allocated to a trained volunteer ‘tracer’, who offered daily support by phone. People welcomed the support that the daily call gave them in coping with self-isolation, the illness, and any other problems arising over the 14 days.
Four volunteers from Burngreave/ Fir Vale were recruited for training. We decided that it would be good to see how we could use the training to offer support here, in this neighbourhood. We’ve liaised with local organisations who have been doing stalwart work throughout the pandemic – Firvale Community Hub, ACT, the Hadfield Institute, the Sheffield Roma Network, Pitsmoor Adventure Playground, and other groups.
Together, with support from SCCT, we have developed ‘Covid Confidence’ training to equip existing and new volunteers with best practice and advice about Covid. These volunteers are already known and trusted within their own communities – Yemeni, Pakistani, Roma , Somali and others.
The volunteers trained in Burngreave, Fir vale, and Darnall will be Covid Champions, able to better advise and support people and families in difficult situations . GPs should also be included in plans to control the spread of the virus.
Please get in touch about the training or if you want to be involved with the Burngreave Fir Vale Community Contact Tracers group. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org; use the Burngreave Messenger webpage to find more details and articles.
The Burngreave/Fir Vale group are also helping out in practical ways – having raised some money from Sheffield Trades Council and Unite Community.
Contact tracing services need to be based locally. And people in each community should be supported so that if they have symptoms, they will self-isolate immediately, get a test, and inform their close contacts.